Business culture influences product ideas

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Washington, Feb 23 (ANI): A University of Illinois marketing study has found that the business culture that companies emphasize has an effect on new product ideas.

According to the research, groundbreaking ideas spring most from companies that stress technology, rather than customer needs or staying ahead of competitors.

The study showed that firms that focus on their competitors or customers generate more new product suggestions than technology-based companies.

But the ideas typically net only subtle advances, such as the slow evolution of wireless reading devices, rather than breakthroughs similar to the shift from compact discs to music downloads.

"Customer- and competitor-oriented companies are more likely to come up with variations of existing products because they watch their markets closely and react to demands rather than building on breakthrough technology," said William Qualls, a U. of I. marketing professor who co-wrote the study.

He says the findings suggest that firms are best served by a balanced philosophy that includes all three cultures.

Qualls said that while an emphasis on technology bolsters innovation, market-driven firms are more attuned to what consumers want, giving them an edge in commercializing new products.

Findings are based on an analysis of survey responses from nearly 200 marketing and research managers who work for companies that make household and personal products, from appliances to skin cream.

The research will appear in the Journal of Product Innovation Management. (ANI)

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