Three primary objectives guide the breadth of content put forth in this publication.

Our first objective is to establish a common understanding of demand for new health products. The global health sector is highly multidisciplinary, with influence from institutions across commercial, non-profit, philanthropic, and public sectors. It is natural that how demand is understood varies depending on the perspectives and agendas of different stakeholders. We’ve seen the word “demand” often conflated with at least three other terms: need, total market size, and consumption. This conflation leads to misinterpretations that can be counterproductive, especially in multidisciplinary teams. Furthermore, different stakeholders tend to be overly dependent on terms based on their incentives. For example, unmet need is common among influencers such as advocates concerned with the magnitude of a disease burden. Alternatively, other definitions of demand are under-utilized in market access discourse, including total addressable market (TAM), serviceable available market (SAM), and serviceable obtainable market (SOM). We offer four distinct demand definitions to help standardize how stakeholders understand demand and reduce the risk of misinterpretations. We hope that alignment on more precise definitions of demand among different stakeholders can improve decision-making.

Our second objective is to assess available tools and approaches to understand demand at different stages of the product development pathway. Our landscape review synthesizes ten unique tools and approaches used across public and private sectors to understand end-users, markets, and market size. Tools are only as good as the processes set up to use them. While the main report includes a synthesis of tool categories, the Supplemental offers more detail on facilitating a process that appropriately utilizes different tools and methodologies.

Our third objective is to offer recommendations for collective action and individual decision-making. We started with the question, “What is fundamentally challenging with how we currently think about demand?” We brought together leading institutions that make direct investments in new global health products and facilitated a reflection process to test, iterate, and build consensus on Why it has been challenging to understand demand, What product stories exemplify some of these challenges and offer learnings, and What this means for our collective global health goals.

The Discerning Demand Publication is accompanied by five documents for individual download