Department of Management

Forward-looking search during innovation projects: Under which conditions it impacts innovativeness

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  • Tymen Jissink
  • ,
  • Fiona Schweitzer, Grenoble Ecole de Management, France
  • René Rohrbeck
There is growing research interest in understanding the impact of search and the evaluation of information on markets, customers, and technologies. If search has an explicit future focus, this paper refers to it as forward-looking search. Previous research has focussed on the firm or innovation portfolio level. Little research has investigated whether forward-looking search practices occur during innovation projects and whether they may contribute towards a project's innovativeness. This paper follows the bounded rationality assumption, which views decision makers as lacking complete knowledge and anticipation of the consequences of their decision. The current study posits that project teams must engage in forward-looking search during project development to ensure their project's innovativeness. However, this paper argues that this is only relevant if there is 1) room in project planning to facilitate forward-looking search, 2) slack resources available to implement such changes, and 3) a dynamic external environment. The data on 159 unique innovation projects from the Danish manufacturing industry show that forward-looking search significantly impacts innovativeness. Furthermore, this study finds that project planning and slack resources moderate this relationship, while industry concentration has no moderating influence. These findings suggest that to increase the innovativeness of projects, continuous forward-looking planning should retain room for flexibility and slack budgets for project adjustment during execution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-85
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

    Research areas

  • forward-looking search, innovation projects, project planning, slack resources, industry concentration, innovativness, foresight

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