The role of marketing activities in the fuzzy front end of innovation: a study of the biotech industry
In this paper we explore the importance of marketing activities during the Fuzzy Front End of Innovation (FFEI), which in product life cycle management is described as the phase between R&D and the beginning of formal new product development. The FFEI is characterized by informal processes and many industry specific conditions. The particular context in which the study was conducted involved research emerging from a US government sponsored institution. Firms obtain licenses for technology from the government sponsored institution with the purpose of advancing them towards commercialization. But, the process of development often gets stalled, especially during the initial stages due to the lack of a number of resources (financial, key personnel, etc.). The specific interest in this study was, therefore, to understand the extent to which various marketing efforts by the licensees enabled the survival of early stage biotech innovations. Licensees would be expected to seek resources by undertaking a number of marketing activities designed to communicate a value proposition to potential resource providers. The study involved qualitative data collection among licensees to uncover marketing activities in which they engaged during the FFEI phase. The data was coded to develop the specific types of marketing activities that had been employed so as to provide insight into which activities were important in enabling early stage innovation survival. Future research can build upon this study’s findings in industries other than biotech and involving different sources of technology transfer (universities, etc.). Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
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