Functional foods for added value
In this study innovation involves the development of a new product category; i.e. new products, new processes and new business. The development process is conveyed in narratives where a radically new product group, functional foods, is developed. These high-tech food products are associated with added value for the food business as well as for individuals and society at large. In the past decades Swedish food companies have faced an increasing competition. With increased competitive pressures, low prices and large volumes may not suffice as strategic advantage in a long-term perspective. One way of gaining competitive advantages requires finding new ways of creating added value based on technological development. It is a technological upgrading process that encompasses developing and making use of new knowledge. It may lead to the production of value added products, profits from licensing agreements and a boost for the company image. Businesses that want to succeed in this market need to develop new managerial methods, in particular in identifying critical technologies. This refers to building internal skills, employing innovative external sourcing, developing new markets with strong brands, establishing alliances, developing packaging, and finding venture capital for new developments. The strategic options also include strategies of communication. In the studied cases several factors have contributed to the successful innovation process. They are discussed in a creative management perspective, allowing for a creative perspective to be gradually complemented with a strategic planning perspective, as the innovation process proceeds. The early phases of the innovation process are characterized by an open-mindedness, flexibility and tolerance of ambiguity. The research procedures as well as the collaboration partners are changed several times during the innovation process. The later phases of the innovation process, however, are characterized by a more formal analysis seen through a strategic planning perspective. This part of the process appears more focused and communicable. In the cases this is conveyed as organizational arrangements, administrative routines for collaboration, and in different marketing strategies.
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