Product innovativeness from the firm’s perspective: Its dimensions and their relation with project selection and performance

There has recently been tremendous interest in product innovativeness. However, it seems that we need a better understanding of exactly what product innovativeness means. This article presents a conceptual framework to clarify its meaning. The framework first distinguishes customer and firm perspectives on product innovativeness. From the customer's perspective, innovation attributes, adoption risks, and levels of change in established behavior patterns are regarded as forms of product newness. Within the firm's perspective, environmental familiarity and project-firm fit, and technological and marketing aspects are proposed as dimensions of product innovativeness.Next, the article offers a tentative empirical test ofthe proposed dimensions of product innovativeness from the firm's perspective.A well-known dataset of 262 industrial new product projects is used to: 1)clarify the product innovativeness construct and examine its underlying dimensions, 2) examine the relation of product innovativeness with the decision to pursue or kill the project, and 3) examine the relationship between product innovativeness and product performance. Five dimensions of product innovativeness are found which have distinct relations with the Go/No Godecision and product performance: market familiarity, technological familiarity, marketing fit, technological fit, and new marketing activities.Most strikingly, measures of fit are related to product performance, whereas measures of familiarity are not.The article concludes that researchers need to be careful about which definitions and measures of product innovativeness they employ, because depending on their choice they may arrive at different findings. New product practitioners are encouraged to evaluate new product opportunities primarily in terms of their fit with their firm's resources and skills rather than the extent to which they are “close to home.”

From Working paper, published on 31-12-1998
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  • Danneels, E and Kleinschmidt, E


  • Innovation research


  • Development
  • Evaluation and impact assessment
  • measurement of innovativeness
  • Productivity
  • skills for innovation

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