Previous research has highlighted the digitization of innovation processes and outcomes especially with regard to the impact of information technology (IT) on new product development (NPD). Instead of analyzing generic IT usage in the NPD, the purpose of this paper is to explore the influencing factors on the adoption of specific software tools to support innovation management methods, called innovation management software (IMS) and their specific functionality.
The authors used an online questionnaire and gathered data from 99 innovation managers of German industrial firms to explore which functionalities embedded in the tools such as aided innovation methods and activities influence the adoption of IMS.
This study’s results indicate in contrast to the previous assumptions in the literature that the likelihood of IMS adoption by innovation managers is positively influenced if the IMS tools offer support functionality for idea evaluation and portfolio management but decreased for idea generation and scenario management. Therefore, this paper can show, that the digitalization of the innovation process though IT tools is more finely nuanced than a “the more – the better” logic often promoted in the digitalization context and proposed in the literature on IMS before.
These findings advance the understanding of technological and organizational drivers of the transformation toward the digitalization of the innovation process from the perspective of innovation managers, who intend to do so by successfully introducing and using IMS in their NPD. Additionally, suppliers of IMS get valuable empirical-based indications from the user perspective that potentially supports their development and sales activities. From a theoretical perspective, this study extends prior research on IT usage and digitalization in the innovation process by expanding to an under-researched category of digitization for the innovation manager perspective aspects of the NPD activities.
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