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How Many and What Kind? The Role of Strategic Orientation in New Product Ideation

Authors/Editors: Spanjol, J.
Qualls, W.
Rosa, J.A.
Published: 2011
Type: Articles in Refereed Journals (International)
ISBN/ISSN: 1540-5885
Published by: Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28 (2), 236-250


Existing studies on the role that strategic orientation plays in companies' innovation efforts primarily focus on identifying the relationship between strategic orientation and innovation performance for launched new products. In contrast, this article investigates how the different types of strategic orientation (i.e., customer, competitor, and technology orientations) influence the front end of innovation. Specifically, this research examines how strategic orientation relates to new product ideation outcomes such as ideation volume (i.e., how many new product ideas are generated) and ideation novelty (i.e., how innovative ideas are). The model developed in this study includes both direct effects of strategic orientation on new product ideation and indirect effects on ideation, mediated by an organization's market search behavior targeted at uncovering new product ideas. A survey of 182 marketing and technical managers, whose responses are analyzed with partial least squares (PLS), reveals that firms characterized by a competitor orientation search their markets significantly more for new product ideas than firms marked by a technology or customer orientation. An emphasis on market search behavior, in turn, leads to significantly greater quantities of new product ideas generated by the firm. Neither a competitor nor a customer orientation significantly enhances the novelty of new product ideas, which is augmented only by technology orientation. The data also reveal that product ideation novelty is significantly enhanced by a technology orientation regardless of the level of market turbulence faced by the innovating firm. Together, these findings suggest that market orientation may have a greater influence on the implementation and commercialization stages of new product development than on new product ideation.

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