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Search strategy in product innovation process: theory and evidence from the evolution of agrochemical lead discovery process


  • Surya Mahdi


This paper investigates different problem-solving strategies--herein called 'search strategies'--in the process of product innovation. It takes issue with the basic assumption of current models of the product innovation process (PIP), which unrealistically consider that the actors of product innovation--the product innovators--are all hyper-rational, homogeneous and non-choice-restricted actors. In order to take into account the more realistic view of the product innovators--as bounded rational, heterogeneous and choice-restricted actors--this paper proposes an alternative model of PIP based on cognitive psychology. According to this framework, the options of search strategy available to each product innovator depend on certain 'problem-solving-related' capabilities that he or she is able or not to use. To examine the validity of this theoretical framework, this paper investigates the phenomenon of the evolution of discovery methods in the agrochemical lead discovery process. Data for this investigation have been gathered through chronological product innovation survey of an agrochemical product registration database as well as a patent and publications index database. Results from this investigation seem to confirm the above argument. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Surya Mahdi, 2003. "Search strategy in product innovation process: theory and evidence from the evolution of agrochemical lead discovery process," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 235-270, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:12:y:2003:i:2:p:235-270

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    Cited by:

    1. Kopecka, Jarmila A. & Santema, Sicco C. & Buijs, Jan A., 2012. "Designerly ways of muddling through," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(6), pages 729-739.
    2. Keld Laursen & Ammon Salter, 2003. "Searching Low and High What Types of Firms use Universities as a Source of Innovation?," DRUID Working Papers 03-16, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    3. Laursen, Keld & Salter, Ammon, 2004. "Searching high and low: what types of firms use universities as a source of innovation?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1201-1215, October.
    4. Nightingale, Paul, 2004. "Technological capabilities, invisible infrastructure and the un-social construction of predictability: the overlooked fixed costs of useful research," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1259-1284, November.
    5. Chataway, Joanna & Tait, Joyce & Wield, David, 2004. "Understanding company R&D strategies in agro-biotechnology: trajectories and blind spots," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6-7), pages 1041-1057, September.
    6. Axel Stein, 2014. "The Significance of Distance in Innovation Biographies—The Case of Law Firms," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 430-449, September.
    7. Xie, Zongjie & Hall, Jeremy & McCarthy, Ian P. & Skitmore, Martin & Shen, Liyin, 2016. "Standardization efforts: The relationship between knowledge dimensions, search processes and innovation outcomes," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 48, pages 69-78.

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