To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Idea selection using innovators and early adopters

Maria Sääksjärvi (Department of Product Innovation Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Katarina Hellén (University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 31 December 2018

Issue publication date: 6 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Development of new products is important for firm success; however, firms often struggle to identify the best ideas from multiple options. The purpose of this paper is to study how innovators and early adopters can be used for identifying the best ideas, i.e. the ideas that appeal to mass-market customers.

Design/methodology/approach

Two empirical studies were conducted. Study 1 concerned the development of a symbolic innovation, whereas Study 2 focused on a functional innovation. Each study consisted of two parts: idea generation and idea evaluation. In Study 1 there were 124 idea generators and 248 idea evaluators. In Study 2 there were 104 idea generators and 108 evaluators.

Findings

Both studies demonstrate that innovators and early adopters are able to predict the ideas that appeal to mass-market customers. Yet, it was also shown that this prediction depends on the nature of the idea. In the case of ideas for products that are predominantly symbolic in nature (Study 1), innovators and early adopters predict the buying intentions of mass-market consumers via the perceived novelty of the idea. In turn, for ideas that are predominantly functional in nature, innovators and early adopters predict the buying intentions of mass-market consumers directly via buying intentions.

Originality/value

These findings show that innovators and early adopters can be used for selecting the best ideas from a plethora of available options. This is the first time that innovators and early adopters have been empirically demonstrated to hold such a role.

Keywords

Citation

Sääksjärvi, M. and Hellén, K. (2019), "Idea selection using innovators and early adopters", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 585-599. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-05-2018-0094

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited