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Customer-related Opportunity Discovery : An Entrepreneurial Perspective of Early-Stage Innovation Processes

abstract Innovation research claims that relationships with current customers influence early-stage innovation processes, shaping the discovery of opportunities with a potential to be new and disruptive to the market; in the perspective of entrepreneurship research, this focus can be reframed as customer-related opportunity discovery. Thereby, it is discussed controversially whether and how relationships with current customers enable or constrain the discovery of disruptive opportunities in early-stage innovation processes. It is argued that detailed knowledge, close relationships, and intense interactions with current customers lead to disruptive opportunities and successful innovation, due to a better understanding of customer needs or issues with current technologies; at the same time, close customer relationships can lead to a lock-in into a too narrow understanding of relevant needs, issues and opportunities. In this paper, we conceptually explore this important paradox in innovation and entrepreneurship research, by identifying a series of dimensions of customer relationships, their impact on the degree of disruptiveness of discovered opportunities, as well as the moderating effect of technological change and market turbulence on this impact. The exploration of this customer relationship paradox in innovation and entrepreneurship lies at the heart of the new strategic entrepreneurship research program, through the attempt of closely relating innovation processes, opportunity discovery, and strategic partnering between companies and their customers.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
keywords Innovation, Entrepreneurship
   
project Dienstleistungskompetenz – strategische Differenzierung für KMUittelunternehmen
name of conference Rencontres de St-Gall 2010 (St. Gallen)
date of conference 6-9-2010
title of proceedings Strategic Entrepreneurship – The Promise for Future Entrepreneurship, Family Business and SME Research?
page(s) 13
publisher Verlag KMU-HSG (St. Gallen)
review not reviewed
   
citation Fust, A., Grand, S., & Fueglistaller, U. (2010). Customer-related Opportunity Discovery: An Entrepreneurial Perspective of Early-Stage Innovation Processes. In Strategic Entrepreneurship – The Promise for Future Entrepreneurship, Family Business and SME Research?, pp.13. St. Gallen: Verlag KMU-HSG.