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Creating products in the absence of markets a robust design approach

Creating products in the absence of markets a robust design approach Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine how firms deal with a situation of true uncertainty about their potential markets and technologies. Specifically, it asks how firms can create products when the corresponding market does not exist.Designmethodologyapproach This paper is based on a longitudinal study of a hightech firm, combined with analysis of existing theory in product design and entrepreneurship.Findings Markets and products are usually a defining choice made early on by firms in their strategic process. Such a choice guides their development by providing a stable concept to which decisions can be related. When markets do not exist yet, however, this approach is not effective. Early choice of products and markets limits firms' flexibility by constraining their ability and willingness to adapt, while fundamental new technical and market information is likely to emerge during the project that will prove the initial assumptions wrong. The paper shows an alternative approach where products and markets actually result from a generic process of products and markets exploration driven by the firm. It is suggested that this approach forms a robust design in that it allows the firm to deal with the uncertainty by simultaneously developing its products and exploring markets, while preserving the flexibility to adapt to the changing environment.Practical implications The practical implication of this paper is to suggest an alternative approach to deliberate planning in hightech ventures. With this approach, rather than markets and products, strategy defines a market and technology exploration process.Originalityvalue The paper is original in three ways. It links the product design and market exploration processes in hightech firm development it is based on an indepth longitudinal study and it results from an academicpractitioner collaborative work. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management Emerald Publishing

Creating products in the absence of markets a robust design approach

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1741-038X
DOI
10.1108/17410380810853812
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine how firms deal with a situation of true uncertainty about their potential markets and technologies. Specifically, it asks how firms can create products when the corresponding market does not exist.Designmethodologyapproach This paper is based on a longitudinal study of a hightech firm, combined with analysis of existing theory in product design and entrepreneurship.Findings Markets and products are usually a defining choice made early on by firms in their strategic process. Such a choice guides their development by providing a stable concept to which decisions can be related. When markets do not exist yet, however, this approach is not effective. Early choice of products and markets limits firms' flexibility by constraining their ability and willingness to adapt, while fundamental new technical and market information is likely to emerge during the project that will prove the initial assumptions wrong. The paper shows an alternative approach where products and markets actually result from a generic process of products and markets exploration driven by the firm. It is suggested that this approach forms a robust design in that it allows the firm to deal with the uncertainty by simultaneously developing its products and exploring markets, while preserving the flexibility to adapt to the changing environment.Practical implications The practical implication of this paper is to suggest an alternative approach to deliberate planning in hightech ventures. With this approach, rather than markets and products, strategy defines a market and technology exploration process.Originalityvalue The paper is original in three ways. It links the product design and market exploration processes in hightech firm development it is based on an indepth longitudinal study and it results from an academicpractitioner collaborative work.

Journal

Journal of Manufacturing Technology ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 14, 2008

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