The Role of Future-Market Focus in the Early Stages of NPD across Varying Levels of Innovativeness

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The concept of future-market focus (FMF) arose out of the debate about firm size and incumbency in the face of radical or disruptive innovations, and has been demonstrated to have a positive correlation with radical innovation (RI) success. This study examines the relationship between FMF and the processes used in the early stages of NPD for four types of innovation projects: incremental innovations, technological breakthroughs, market breakthroughs, and radical innovations. We found that the future-market focus of a project team can influence the early stage processes used in a new product innovation project, and does so differentially across levels of innovativeness. In particular, the concept generation process, understanding of market needs, and screening decision criteria are different for low- versus high-FMF projects and there are differences based on the level of innovation. In addition, we found that radical innovation projects rated low in FMF are markedly different than the radical innovation projects described in prior studies.