Integrating Problem Solvers from Analogous Markets in New Product Ideation

Franke, Nikolaus and Poetz, Marion K. and Schreier, Martin (2014) Integrating Problem Solvers from Analogous Markets in New Product Ideation. Management Science, 60 (4). pp. 1063-1081. ISSN 0025-1909


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Who provides better inputs to new product ideation tasks: problem solvers with expertise in the area for which new products are to be developed, or problem solvers from "analogous" markets that are distant but share an analogous problem or need? Conventional wisdom appears to suggest that target market expertise is indispensable, which is why most managers searching for new ideas tend to stay within their own market context even when they do search outside their firms' boundaries. However, in a unique symmetric experiment that isolates the effect of market origin, we find evidence for the opposite: Although solutions provided by problem solvers from analogous markets show lower potential for immediate use, they demonstrate substantially higher levels of novelty. Also compared to established novelty drivers, this effect appears highly relevant from a managerial perspective: we find that including problem solvers from analogous markets vs. the target market accounts for almost two thirds of the well-known effect of involving lead users instead of average problem solvers. This effect is further amplified when the analogous distance between the markets increases, i.e., when searching in far vs. near analogous markets. Finally, results indicate that the analogous market effect is particularly strong in the upper tail of the novelty distribution, which again underscores the effect's practical importance. All this suggests that it might pay to systematically search across firm-external sources of innovation that were formerly out of scope for most managers. (authors' abstract)

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The authors thank Oliver Alexy, Marco Giarratana, David Mazursky, Page Moreau, Francesco Rullani, the Management Science department editor Lee Fleming, the associate editor and three reviewers, as well as the audiences at Bocconi University, LUISS Business School, Politecnico di Milano, Rotterdam School of Management, the Academy of Management Conference 2006 and the Summer Marketing Educators' Conference 2006 for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. The authors also thank Christian Neumann, Barbara Piesch, Susanna Roiser, and the students of the E&I Research course for their valuable assistance. Financial support is acknowledged from the Danish Council for Independent Research | Social Sciences (research grant 09-068739).
Keywords: open innovation / distant search / exploration / problem solving / new product development / analogical transfer / analogy / creativity
Divisions: Departments > Marketing > Marketing-Management
Departments > Strategy and Innovation > Entrepreneurship und Innovation
Forschungsinstitute > Familienunternehmen
Version of the Document: Accepted for Publication
Variance from Published Version: Minor
Depositing User: Elena Simukovic
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2015 13:40
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2015 15:00
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