FutureSet HI Use Cases: Research and Development
By utilizing data analytics and machine learning algorithms, 4Sight’s FutureSet dashboard can help identify ingredients that could potentially have negative effects on product development, while also highlighting those that have positive impacts.
In this series, we’ll explore how different teams can use our database to reduce risk and guide innovation. Because our database is populated with ingredient information, the foundation of CPG, we began our dashboard design process designed with members of Research and Development teams as our primary users. The initial iterations of the dashboard involved consultations with a number of R&D professionals to help shape the UX and the analytics.
Here, we’ll talk about four specific use cases for R&D teams but first, an overview of the database itself. FutureSet ingests billions of scientific, academic, regulatory, social and news documents on ingredients. Our data lake allows access to over 111 million ingredients. We titrate this information down to the critical signals, and synthesize this information to ensure the most holistic understanding of each ingredient. Using advanced ML/AI, we score each ingredient on scale from ‘villain’ to ‘hero’, and give access to all of the documents that make up that score.
With that in mind, let’s discuss how this is helpful for R&D teams.
The first: Identifying ‘villain’ ingredients of concern that pose a health risk to consumers or the environment based on emerging signals and pattern recognition in scientific, regulatory, market and consumer data. Nearly every day, a new headline emerges with a focus on an ingredient risk. Whether due to a new study identifying dangerous properties, regulatory or legislative action, or a lawsuit – it’s impossible to ignore the risk that manufactures take on daily. Our FutureSet database ingests billions of documents and discerns clear “sparks” and “spreads” that allow formulators to identify emerging concerns. We have numerous examples of ingredients that have been identified as risky for human health or the environment years before a scientific consensus on the issue, providing advanced warning and the ability to begin building a case for reformulation before it is too late.
The ability to reformulate may involve the need to locate substitute ingredients that do not have negative sentiment or score for the ‘villainous’ ingredients. The database allows for this by providing the known substitute ingredients, their properties and their science/social scores, along with relevant documents, so formulators can begin to make informed decisions about what substitutions may be most fitting. We are not chemists, but we do employ subject matter and category experts to ensure the most accurate suggestions based on our machine learning process.
It's safe to say that many if not most ingredients used in formulations are innocuous, at least that we know of. While some may emerge as dangerous, it’s also safe to say some may emerge as heroes. Teams use the FutureSet database to identify these ‘hero’ ingredients emerging grounded in early emerging signals from scientific and/or regulatory research. Just as we see news villain ingredients spread across media, so too can the praises of hero ingredients. Identifying these opportunities early can guide innovation and aid in new formulations.
FutureSet’s database can be used for more than high-alert concerns or opportunities. Another way users employ the database is to Research science publications, clinical trials, patents or social media content related to a specific ingredient. There may be instances when you want to double click on a specific ingredient and see related materials. In this way, the dashboard acts as a library – a repository of information, academic journals, patents, clinical trials, etc. to research an ingredient in your portfolio especially for either new formulators or formulators that may be new to a category.
All of these examples can save R&D teams significant time and resources by allowing them to focus on ingredients that are most likely to be successful. Additionally, a dashboard that identifies villain and hero ingredients can help improve the overall quality of products by minimizing the risk of negative reactions or side effects. Overall, implementing such a dashboard can help R&D teams make more informed decisions and ultimately lead to more successful product development.