Basic principles observed and reported
This is the lowest "level" of technology maturity. At this level, scientific research begins to be translated into applied research and development.
Technology concept and/or application formulated
At this level, the application is still speculative, but specific applications are being considered in academic papers.
Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept
At this step, active research and development is initiated. This must include both analytical studies to set the technology into an appropriate context and laboratory-based studies to physically validate that the analytical predictions are correct.
Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment
Next, basic technological elements must be integrated to establish that the "pieces" will work together to achieve concept-enabling levels of performance.
Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment
At this level, the fidelity of the component and/or breadboard being tested is increased. The basic technological elements must be integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so that the total applications (component-level, sub-system level, or system-level) can be tested in a 'simulated' or somewhat realistic environment.
System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
This stage requires that the fidelity of the component and/or breadboard being tested is again increased.
System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
TRL 7 is a significant step beyond TRL 6, requiring an actual system prototype demonstration in a space environment. The prototype should be near or at the scale of the planned operational system.
Actual system completed and qualified through test and demonstration
In almost all cases, this level is the end of true 'system development'. This stage might include integration of new technology into an existing system.
Actual system proven through successful mission operations
This represents the end of the last 'bug fixing' aspects of true 'system development'. This TRL does not include planned product improvement of ongoing or reusable systems.
First pass canvas
This is the lowest "level" of investment maturity. At this level, a rough outline of a business model has been put to paper, but it's mostly unvalidated assumptions.
Market size/competitive analysis
Once a rough business model in place, the next most important ancillary step is market research. It's important to know what the market looks like and who your potential competitors are.
Now that you have completed your market research, the next step is to begin validating that there's a problem and that your business plan aligns with possible solutions to that problem.
Low fidelity MVP
Once you have validated your solution in theory, it's time to begin validating it in practice. Do this with a low fidelity MVP to conserve resources.
Building on the previous steps, next you need to validate that your offering represents the best way to solve the problem(s) experienced by your market. This is where you hammer down what your UVPs are and validate that they actually matter to your market.
Validate right-side of canvas
It's time to validate the left-side of your business model canvas (customers, relationships, customer segments, channels, revenue streams). Some of this will have been completed during previous steps.
High fidelity MVP
Now that you have a good idea about your product/market fit, it's time to begin validating your idea in earnest. Do this with a high fidelity MVP to maximise your investment readiness and prove your technology.
Validate left-side of canvas
It's time to validate the right-side of your business model canvas (key partners, key activities, key resources, cost structure). Some of this will have been completed during previous steps.
Metrics that matter
Once you have a validated business model and product, the next step is planning your growth. Key to this is identifying the metrics that matter (e.g. revenue, sales, social media clout).