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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/8564

Title: Lead customer interaction during the commercialisation process of radical technologies
Authors: VERCAUTEREN, Anne
Issue Date: 2004
Citation: 4th Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management, St. Andrews, Scotland, May 5-8 2004.
Abstract: The radical innovation process initiated by a technology push differs remarkably from the orderly incremental innovation process. The role and form of customer interaction for one vary significantly according to innovation type. It is clear that incremental innovations tend to be customer driven, but customer involvement in the commercialization of breakthroughs is much more contested (Christensen 1997). Nevertheless, several case studies and previous research show the potential value of lead customer input for the commercialization of radical technologies (Jolly 1997). The paper analyzes collaboration of innovating companies with industrial lead customers during the different phases of technology commercialization. Access, transfer and creation of knowledge are key processes in the interorganizational collaboration. Lead customers benefit by acquiring a superior product. The supplier manages to reduce lead times and improve new product performance by accessing customer expertise (Brown and Eisenhardt 1995). The dynamics of uncertainty, opportunism, power and suspicion can severely harm interorganizational learning. In contrast high stakes, trust, commitment and a long-term orientation motivate both partners to see the unpredictable technology commercialization process through. We take the knowledge-based theory of inter-firm collaboration (Grant and Baden-Fuller 1995) as the predominant paradigm of our research. The conceptual framework comprises concepts such as technology commercialization (Jolly 1997) and lead customer interaction (Leifer et al. 2000). These concepts provide a relatively clear description of the context for a study of lead customer interaction for technology commercialization. We investigate what exactly to learn collectively, when and with whom. An exploratory study consisting of five cases in large firms provides preliminary insights. We anlayse customer interaction in these cases and delineate topics for further research.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/8564
Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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