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Actors in new business development and innovation Mobile researcher: Antonella La Rocca, Switzerland

Awarded: NOK 81,000

The scope of the study is how innovations and new businesses emerge and how new solutions materialize as actors interact when developing new customer-supplier relationships. Research approached new business development and innovation mainly from the persp ective of the entrepreneurial firm, respectively of the innovator assuming that the success of the new business or diffusion of an innovation is determined by the relative advantage of new over pre-existing solutions of the new product, service, method or idea. Such research has produced valuable insights but does not explain the high rate of failure. A perspective is emerging that shifts the attention from internal to external factors, particularly to how firms and actors relate to each other. Thus, the 'other' - traditionally, the user/customer recipient of innovation - assumes an important role in the development of business relationships and in innovatio processes. Consequently, innovation is viewed as a process that involves interaction between the p arties rather than a solution embodied in products or artefacts. This perspective connects to the IMP stream of research that is particularly relevant for this study since it has shown that the development of single businesses and the dynamics of business networks reflect how parties interact and that interaction is a critical business process. These features are important for new business development when new businesses start in B2B markets. Investigating how the interaction between actors affects the de velopment of the relationship requires an interdisciplinary approach and collecting data on communication and interaction patterns as the new relationship forms. The study will be based on three longitudinal, in-depth cases, observing and collecting data on: - How both parties in a newly emergent relationship communicate; - How they interpret mutual identities; - How they elaborate the meaning; - How they construct and communicate the new solution.

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