Innovation, Technology Entrepreneurship and Marketing

Research area
The Innovation, Technology Entrepreneurship and Marketing (ITEM) group’s research program focusses on understanding and improving the new business and product development processes of new ventures as well as established firms, organizations, and institutions. The program covers the strategic, tactical and operational activities of business and product development, with a particular focus on high-tech products. The program is unique in the sense that:

  • it covers the entire cycle of new business and product development efforts, from the very front end of new business and product conception to start-up and commercialization respectively, including the broader contingent conditions enabling these efforts;
  • it combines a management and engineering perspective to study these business and product development processes, thereby capturing the complexity and multidisciplinary nature of these complex processes, and therefore:
  • it deliberately exploits the various competences and forms of expertise (inside as well outside the ITEM-group) at the interface of management and engineering disciplines to help managers improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their new business and product development processes.

 This research focus on new business and product development has historically proven to be valuable for talent development and disciplinary excellence, demonstrated by the large number of former PhD students that are now (Associate) Professors at reputed universities like DTU, BI Norwegian Business School, EDHEC, Free University Amsterdam, Tilburg University and Erasmus University Rotterdam. Moreover, the ITEM group has long been a highly attractive hub for visiting scholars like Scott Shane, Abby Griffin and Anthony DiBenedetto as well as for practitionerscholars like Martin Schuurmans and Mathieu Weggeman (the latter currently still affiliated with the group), who have directly influenced decision-making in many corporate boardrooms and forums for innovation policy (e.g., EIT, Brainport Development).

The disciplinary excellence of ITEM scholars has resulted in key scholarly contributions at the interface of multiple theoretical perspectives and methodological traditions. Examples are: (1) the study by Walrave, Van Oorschot and Romme (2011) of how top management teams make R&D investment decisions, drawing on a case study and simulation modelling; (2) the simulation model developed by Van Oorschot, Langerak and Sengupta (2011) to examine the effectiveness of different decision heuristics in the acceleration of new product development; (3) Schepers et al. (2012) who draw on several studies to introduce the perspective of customer stewardship control to the marketing and innovation field; (4) Podoynitsyna et al. (2013) who compared the effectiveness of five responses by new ventures to external uncertainty in markets with network externalities (i.e., avoidance, imitation, control, cooperation, and real options reasoning) and, as recent example; (6) Walrave and Raven (2016) who introduced system dynamics modelling into the literature on transition management and innovation systems that thus far has been dominated by case studies.

The group’s research focus also aligns well with the School’s strategic area of Humans and Technology. Exemplar studies to illustrate this alignment are: (1) entrepreneurs’ characteristics and the role of education in new venture growth (e.g., Baillon, Koelinger and Treffers 2016; Shane et al. 2015; Zhang, Duysters and Cloodt 2014); (2) studies exploring the role of intuition in decisions in the front end of innovation (Eling, Langerak and Griffin 2015); (3) research in the area of product design resilience (Alblas and Jayaram 2015); (4) studies of the antecedents of selling new products (Van der Borgh and Schepers 2014; Van der Borgh, De Jong and Nijssen 2016); (5) the importance of new product ideas that frontline employees acquire from visiting customers (Van der Heide et al. 2013; Schepers and Nijssen 2016); (6) the effects of stewardship and agency control on frontline employee behavior (Schepers et al. 2012), and: (7) the effects of virtual service teams (Schepers et al. 2011).

The group also has a shorter standing focus on the strategic energy area as application domain. Contributions to this area will derive from ongoing research projects like Energy Technology Commercialization with KIC InnoEnergy, the SEEC program, the Select+ Erasmus Mundus program, Synergies in Sustainable Space and Energy with NSO, and the H2020 Roadmaps for Energy R4E program. Several manuscripts resulting from these research projects are currently under review with leading energy and management journals and a first article by Huijben, Podoynitsyna, Van Rijn, and Verbong (2016) on governmental support instruments for PV market growth has been published.

Even more recently, several research projects have also been initiated in the Data Science field with realized outputs such as: (1) Van Angeren, Frota Alves and Jansen (2016) on analyzing app developer relationships in commercial platform ecosystems, and (2) Wilms, Gelper, and Croux (2016) and Gelper, Wilms, and Croux (2016) on respectively the predictive power of the business and bank sentiment of firms and the identification of demand effects in a large network of product categories.

Contribution to the School
By focusing on new business and product development, the ITEM group makes an important contribution to the School IE’s research on the optimization of complex processes, systems and organizations in high-tech industries. This is imperative because in such industries, new business and product development are the main drivers of growth, profitability and survival. Moreover, the group’s research is incorporated in courses throughout all the educational programs offered by the School IE and in campus-wide educational programs on entrepreneurship. That is why ITEM scholars work actively with colleagues from other groups inside and outside the department as well as with industrial partners and the TU/e Innovation Lab (the TU/e incubator).

More information about the Innovation, Technology Entrepreneurship and Marketing Group can be found at their website.