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The difficulties that a customer has in imagining the future usage of a product in a concept test reduce the customer's ability to provide information that helps managers improve RNP concepts Hoeffler, ; Veryzer, At the same time, managers need this customer information to reduce market uncertainties and avoid market failure of the RNP Callahan and Lasry, ; Frishammar, Flor, and Wincent, Researchers thus experiment with different methods to increase the customer's ability to comprehend and evaluate RNP concepts e.

Transportation measures the extent to which a concept test participant can imagine an RNP and its usage. According to transportation theory Escalas, ; Gerrig, ; Green and Brock, , transportation is a consumer's ability to develop a vivid mental image of a certain situation. Consumers who are transported into a situation, such as using a new product concept Escalas, ; Van den Hende and Schoormans, , feel immersed in the situation and their thoughts and attention focus on it Green and Brock, ; Lien and Chen, In RNP concept tests, transported individuals are able to envisage an RNP vividly and easily imagine using the product.

These ideas are valuable for companies if they are novel, feasible, and attractive to consumers Kristensson, Magnusson, and Matthing, ; Magnusson, ; Poetz and Schreier, The study provides a theoretical contribution to the innovation management literature by examining the simultaneous effect of multiple drivers i. For RNPs, prior research has only examined either a new concept test technique e.

As a substantive contribution, this article provides an understanding of the role of concept presentation in a story format, technological reflectiveness, and product experience as drivers of transportation. More specifically, these drivers help practitioners design concept tests that meet the requirements of RNPs in order to obtain valuable ideas to improve such products.

The basic idea behind concept testing is to involve consumers to elicit their point of view in order to develop products they want to buy Moore, , ; Piller and Ihl, In concept tests, managers present a concept and gather feedback on likes, dislikes, and improvement ideas. Concept testing includes qualitative e. The core problem with RNP concept tests is that it is difficult to convey to consumers a sense of the future product, its utility, and the way of using it Fischoff, ; Veryzer, ; Ziamou, Functional prototypes are often not ready for the concept test phase; the product information is incomplete and consumers cannot test out the product to experience its use.

Consumers can only gauge what the final product will look like, how it will work, and how they can interact with it. Consumers lack this prior usage experience of RNPs Hoeffler, and have a tough time classifying the concept according to existing categories Dahl and Moreau, ; Moreau, Lehmann, and Markman, ; Moreau, Markman, and Lehmann, Consumers may thus fail to grasp the content of RNPs, resulting in biased and potentially misleading concept test results Knudsen, ; Leonard, ; Veryzer, To reduce imagination difficulty, companies can employ specific concept test techniques to improve the ability of users to imagine the RNP and its future use context.

The latter is a concept description in the form of a story about a character using the new product concept e. To avoid the problem of imagination difficulty in RNP concept tests, companies can also profit from selecting specific users who have a superior capability to understand a future RNP and its usage Schoormans et al. For example, lead users are users who are ahead of an important market trend and feel that they largely profit from an innovative solution that satisfies their needs in the area of this market trend Franke, von Hippel, and Schreier, ; von Hippel, First, users with high expertise on products in related product categories might find it easier to imagine the utility and usage of RNP concepts Schoormans et al.

Second, technologically reflective individuals i. Transportation is conceptualized as the ability of a consumer to develop a vivid mental image of a certain situation, such as using a new product concept Escalas, ; Green and Brock, ; Van den Hende and Schoormans, The conceptual framework starts with a story format, product expertise, and technological reflectiveness as the drivers of transportation.

Further, the framework comprises the ability to enumerate the advantages and the disadvantages of a concept and valuable ideas for concept improvement as consequences of transportation. Improvement ideas are valuable when they are highly novel, feasible, and benefit consumers Kristensson and Magnusson, ; Poetz and Schreier, In product concept tests, participants usually receive a description of a concept that explains the technical characteristics of a potential new product Dahan, Kim, Lo, Poggio, and Chan, ; Dahan and Srinivasan, ; Page and Rosenbaum, While such concept descriptions work well for INPs, they do not convey information about the product in a way that allows concept test participants to envisage RNPs well Van den Hende and Schoormans, A possible remedy is the description of an RNP concept in a story format.

People have used storytelling for centuries to entertain others and share information Schank, ; Woodside, In recent years, the effectiveness of storytelling as a means of conveying corporate information to consumers has been increasingly studied in the context of narrative advertisements see for reviews Van Laer et al.

The transportation imagery model Green and Brock, ; Van Laer et al. Concept presentations in story format feature a storyline about somebody using this new product in a particular setting Van den Hende et al. Story formats elicit transportation: The reader receives a vivid mental image of the events in the story and relates to the main character Escalas, ; Gerrig, Such mental simulations can provide a surrogate product experience with RNPs to compensate for a lack of real product experience when this is not possible, for example, when the functional RNP prototypes are not yet ready Van den Hende and Schoormans, Concept description in a story format may facilitate processing of new information and may lead to faster, and more holistic, understanding of novel information.

The story format transports consumers to environments that are otherwise inaccessible and gives them the opportunity to visualize themselves in these environments.

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Similar to other narrative formats, concept presentation in story format can elicit transportation Green and Brock, ; Van den Hende and Schoormans, The following hypothesis is thus in line with previous research:. H1: Concept presentations in story format stimulate transportation into RNPs more than a concept presentation in a list format. Transportation depends not only on the way the situation is presented, but also on the personal background, skills, and experience of the consumers Van Laer et al.

Individuals with skills in a particular domain possess superior capabilities to solve problems in this domain. For example, lead users possess superior knowledge in the domain of a specific trend and often develop prototypes in this domain Franke et al. Product expertise is crucial for processing and understanding the information presented in a concept test. While product expertise is available in respect of INPs due to the prior knowledge of users and their personal experience, the contrary is true of RNPs Hoeffler, Users have neither prior knowledge of the RNP nor personal experience with it.

Nevertheless, some users have expertise in related product categories. The amount of transferable information varies between consumers, depending on their knowledge base of familiar product categories Alba and Hutchinson, ; Cordell, For example, in the case of the first digital camera, consumers with prior knowledge of cameras and computers could transfer this knowledge to the digital camera, while consumers with no experience in one or both categories lacked transferable knowledge.

Owing to their knowledge base, consumers with high expertise of products in related categories might find it easier to process and understand the information contained in an RNP concept description and to build a visual scenario of the product in use, thus experiencing transportation. Schoormans et al. In a similar vein, Pham et al.

The following hypothesis posits:. H2: The higher the degree to which consumers have product experience in related product categories, the higher their transportation into RNPs.

Product Innovation Toolbox: A Field Guide to Consumer Understanding and Research

Technological reflectiveness i. Technologically reflective consumers gather their knowledge through information and use experience with technological products and through their consideration of the impact of the usage. Their engagement with technical products is not limited to their personal usage requirements; they reflect on the consequences of the usage for themselves, different social groups, and society at large.

Through their reflection, these consumers explore their experiences and gain new understanding of a domain Boud, Keogh, and Walker, ; Schweitzer et al.

Data and information

Reflection also enables these consumers to connect prior experiences with new ones, to analyze the consequences of alternate paths of action, to draw conclusions, and to act on them Ennis, Technologically reflective individuals have a habit of visualizing future technical products and what they can offer society. Over time, these individuals develop their capability to understand the interactions between technology and society Schweitzer et al. Technologically reflective consumers may thus be in a good position to develop a vivid mental image of an RNP and its potential usage.

This is the case even when the product is merely a concept, is presented as written text, or cannot be tested as a prototype or by an advanced new concept technique that facilitates visualization. The advanced reflection skills of technologically reflective consumers lead to their personally induced transportation. The hypothesis thus postulates:. H3: The higher the degree to which consumers are technologically reflective the higher is their transportation. Previous research on consumer integration into NPD refers to the potential difficulties that consumers may have with contributing vital input e.

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By facilitating the ability to fully imagine a product in action and fostering an understanding of the product concept, transportation can facilitate elaborative thoughts about the product Block and Keller, Such thoughts explore the quality of the concept in the environment in which it is used, and include the exploration of its positive and negative aspects i.

Transportation is useful in the context of NPD as a vivid mental experience of a fictional product usage scenario i. Transported consumers can easily envisage using a product, resulting in reduced adoption uncertainties and increased adoption intention Castano, Sujan, Kacker, and Sujan, Understanding the concept is an essential prerequisite, not only for positive evaluation and adoption, but also for considering the positive and negative aspects of a new technical concept Veryzer, By showing consumers the full picture, transportation facilitates the generation of the advantages and the disadvantages of such a concept.

This leads to the next hypothesis:. H4: Transportation increases the consumer's ability to enumerate the advantages and the disadvantages of RNPs. Creative problem solving involves identifying an opportunity, or problem, as the first step toward seizing an opportunity or solving a problem Isaksen, Dorval, and Treffinger, ; Osborn, By understanding the advantages and the disadvantages of a product, consumers have specific starting points for generating creative ideas to improve product concepts. A larger base of advantages and disadvantages provides a plurality of angles for strengthening the advantages and reducing the disadvantages.

Prior research has demonstrated that a large quantity of starting points for generating new product ideas increases the quality of the ideas Stam, de Vet, Barkema, and De Dreu, ; Valgeirsdottir, Onarheim, and Gabrielsen, Based on the identified advantages and disadvantages, consumers can develop ideas for strengthening the perceived advantages or reducing the perceived disadvantages Isaksen et al.

The ability to envision how a specific concept can on the one hand solve problems and satisfy needs, or on the other hand pose challenges to potential future customers, is important in creating RNPs that potential customers will accept. H5: The ability to enumerate more advantages and disadvantages of new product concepts increases the ability to generate valuable ideas for concept improvement i. Local residents living in the vicinity of the university campus were approached by a group of 27 trained research assistants, because the goal of the study was to sample ordinary users. The research assistants received a quota plan based on the age, gender, and income distribution of the population.

The research assistants contacted respondents by phone and asked them to participate. As an incentive to participate, the participants received a voucher worth EUR 5 for a local supermarket chain. The sample consisted of The study used two versions of an RNP concept description: a concept presentation in story format and a concept presentation in a nonstory, list format. The two versions were similar in terms of the number and content of the described product features, the number of times the product name was mentioned, and the description's length and elaboration.

The concept presentation in story format used nonprosaic, plain language, and a classical storyline with a beginning introduction of the main character and concept , a middle main character performs actions with the product , and an end main character ceases using the product and leaves the setting Green, The narrative elements, such as the temporal order of events and their logical interrelatedness, were removed from the story to construct the concept presentation in a list format following a similar procedure used by Adaval and Wyer, The chosen RNP concept required not only advanced technology, but also a functioning system of services.

Furthermore, the concept description touched on issues of medical privacy e. The full texts are detailed in Appendix. The format conditions and procedure of the two concept descriptions were pretested extensively to ensure the descriptions and questions were clear and that the timing of the tasks was correct which is comparable to the procedure described by Kristensson and Magnusson, For the second part of the study, the participants came to the university to participate in a concept test. The concept test manipulated two conditions of the concept description format concept presentation in a story format vs.

Part two of the study took place on site, in runs of between two and ten participants who completed the concept test individually. After reading the concept description, the participants completed a questionnaire, which included questions related to the perceived newness of the product, their comprehension of the product concept, and the transportation measure.

Subsequently, the participants had to carry out two tasks. Second, the participants had to suggest improvements to the concept. The respondents could suggest improvements in the features or uses of the Health Monitor. Feel free to suggest any changes in the features, attributes, or uses that could improve the concept. Finally, the respondents were tested by means of the alternative use task measure of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking to assess their general creativity Torrance, Individual sessions instead of group workshops were used, because prior research has questioned the efficacy of group methods and found individual creativity processes to be more effective in generating new product and service ideas Griffin and Hauser, ; Paulus and Dzindolet, ; Schirr, The researchers adapted the expertise scales by Sussman and Siegel and Bhattacherjee and Sanford to fit the purpose of the study e.

Table 1 provides a comprehensive overview of the variables used for the constructs. Expert disagreements about the number of arguments and coding were resolved through discussion. The experts were two research assistants trained in qualitative analysis techniques. The researchers summarized each respondent's codes to build an index of the total number of advantages and disadvantages that each enumerated.

To measure the ability to generate valuable ideas for concept improvement the study applied the procedure set out by Poetz and Schreier : Two experts who were blind to the study goals first rated the novelty, feasibility, and consumer benefit of each improvement idea. These two experts were not those who coded the advantages and disadvantages; they were two practitioners with professional experience in, respectively, health care products and smart products. Second, the agreement among the raters was assessed with Krippendorff's alphas Krippendorff, With values of. Third, the scores of the raters were averaged regarding the three quality dimensions of each respondent's ideas.

The study included general creativity, level of education, and age as control variables. To assess general creativity, the researchers used the alternative use task measure of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking Torrance, in the part two questionnaire.

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The respondents were given two minutes to list as many different uses for a common brick as they could think of Torrance, This suggests that the story and list format stimuli were equally understandable. Each individual factor also proved reliable in the more advanced confirmatory factor analysis Bagozzi and Baumgartner, ; Byrne, using Amos 23 IBM, Zurich, Switzerland. The composite reliability of all constructs was above the. Further, the Fornell—Larcker criterion tested for discriminant validity Fornell and Larcker, Thus, the constructs in this study complied with discriminant validity.

Table 2 shows the descriptive statistics of the measures used to test the hypotheses. The hypotheses were tested with a structural equation modeling SEM approach, using standardized variables as the variables had differing scales Mahr, Lievens, and Blazevic, Hence, the data fit the model well, thus allowing for an interpretation of the results. H1 to H3 concern the drivers of transportation. H2, which states that product expertise has a positive impact on transportation, also found empirical support in this full model. H4 and H5 concern the consequences of transportation.

These results support H5. A first model used a difference measure quantity of advantages minus quantity of disadvantages instead of the mere enumeration measure of the advantages and the disadvantages. The researchers thus endeavored to determine whether transportation provokes more positive or more negative arguments about the concept.

Based on transportation literature, transportation triggers more positive evaluations Van Laer et al. More positive arguments could make finding improvement ideas difficult; it might be easier to suggest ideas to reduce the disadvantages of concepts than to improve concepts that already exhibit strong advantages.

In a second model, the absolute difference value of the enumerated advantages and disadvantages absolute value of quantity of advantages minus quantity of disadvantages replaced the mere enumeration measure of the advantages and disadvantages in the core model. The aim of the second model was to understand whether differences in the proportion of arguments, irrespective of their direction, led to an improved ability to provide valuable ideas for concept improvement.

The investigation of the two alternative models substantiates the relevance of a broad base of arguments about a new concept as a basis for suggesting concept improvements. The direction of the arguments does not play a major role in this context. As a next step, the mediating effect of enumerated advantages and disadvantages on the relationship between transportation and valuable ideas for concept improvement were investigated applying the bootstrapping methodology described by Preacher and Hayes and Efron and Tibshirani Such vivid examination of the RNP gave the participants a virtual experience of the RNP concept, enabling them to envisage the potential advantages and disadvantages of using it.

Based on their understanding of the pros and cons of the concept usage, the participants could create ideas to improve the product concept that were valuable in terms of their novelty, feasibility, and benefit for consumers. This study contributes to transportation theory in two ways. First, it showed the positive effect of transportation on valuable ideas that improve RNP concepts. Prior transportation research has mainly examined the persuasive and affective effects of transportation Van Laer et al.

In the context of RNP concept testing, transportation research has focused only on affection and ease of use outcomes Van den Hende and Schoormans, Second, this study elucidated the mechanism underlying the effect of transportation on valuable suggestions for concept improvement: transportation increases the ability to enumerate advantages and disadvantages, which helps in providing valuable suggestions for improvement. The article also contributes to the innovation management literature. First, it contributes to the literature that advocates the involvement of regular consumers in the NPD process.

Prior research on consumer involvement has focused on noncomplex product categories i. This article demonstrated that ordinary consumers have the ability to contribute to the development of new products in complex product categories as well.


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Prior research has examined the effects of single drivers on different concept test outcomes e. More specifically, prior research has examined either a new technique e. Concept descriptions can include many different elements, such as consumer insights, benefits, reasons to believe, or contextual information, yet a concept description in story format goes beyond a typical concept description. A story features a main character, product use, outcomes of the use i. Prior research shows that dissociation from the main character in a concept test story inhibits transportation Van den Hende et al.

Extending this line of thought, any dissociation might inhibit transportation. Though price was not mentioned in the RNP concept description, price inferences might have been present. The content of a story influences the perception of the reader. Using the story format for concept research would warrant thinking about the content of the story, as it steers the outcomes.

The content can influence the types of advantages and disadvantages that consumers perceive. As these advantages and disadvantages form the basis of idea generation, the content can ultimately also influence the types of ideas that are generated. On the other hand, it might increase the depth of feedback on a specific context through more intense immersion into this context.

The present article focused on a technologically complex RNP with a potentially high societal impact. When seeking input from consumers on such a product during the concept development phase, innovation managers can benefit from eliciting transportation. This article offers three means to elicit transportation: a story format to describe the RNP concept, selection of consumers with high product expertise in related product categories, and selection of technologically reflective consumers.

Selecting consumers with high technological reflectiveness or product expertise demands screening for concept test participants along these characteristics. For the story format, a classical story told in plain language suffices to elicit transportation. The length depends on the number of possible uses of the product that need to be tested, though multiple stories with single uses could also be considered.

The transportation that concept test participants experienced helped them to provide ideas for concept improvement. This was because of their better understanding of the pros and cons of the concept usage, which were made explicit by letting the participants enumerate the advantages and the disadvantages of the RNP. Stories for RNP concept testing offer numerous opportunities for innovation managers. For example, prior research shows that concept tests in story formats serve as surrogates for a prototype demonstration for attitude and ease of use estimations Van den Hende and Schoormans, Therefore, the story format could allow managers to explore multiple concepts further, before expensive prototypes are developed.

Different potential future usage scenarios, such as ones developed in scenario workshops Rau, Schweitzer, and Gassmann, ; Wack, , could be tested in concept tests. In the former, participants could develop different scenarios for the potential future usage of an RNP, while in the latter, consumers could receive different concept descriptions in a story format, each based on one of the developed scenarios. The various limitations of this study offer opportunities for further research. Technologically reflective individuals might have strong transportation abilities when technological solutions are strongly linked to societal issues, but might not have these abilities when it comes to other technological products.

Thus, other product categories should be examined to demonstrate the general role that technologically reflective consumers play in concept tests. Second, this article demonstrated the positive effect of transportation on generating ideas to improve an RNP concept. However, this is only one kind of consumer involvement in the NPD process. Another consumer involvement activity is idea generation Mahr et al.

Further research on transportation could explore this phase of the NPD process. Stimuli in story format narratives for this phase, however, are unlikely to include a product yet, and therefore scenarios of the future Wade, could be used as stimuli in story format. Third, respondents in the empirical study had a time limit of five minutes to enumerate the advantages and the disadvantages of the RNP concept, and 10 minutes to provide ideas for concept improvement.

Time limits are general practice in concept test settings and the set time limit was comparable to time limits in other studies e. However, such time pressure might have different effects on different people: While it may inhibit some people's ability to provide creative input, it might boost the ability of others Baer and Oldham, ; Moreau and Dahl, ; Sheremata, ; Zhang, Zhang, and Song, To extend the validity of this study's findings to different settings, future studies could try to replicate the results in settings without a time limit.

Fourth, the measurement of the concept refinement solutions included an indirect market acceptance measure in the form of what experts view as the perceived consumer benefit. Therefore, a longitudinal study could encompass evaluation of the generated ideas followed by consumer evaluation of the final product. However, the latter stage could also have been done online, though in that case it would perhaps have been less controlled.

As such, the procedures and means described in this article i. Her academic research focuses on customer integration into the innovation process. Ellis A. Her research interests focus on the new product development process of innovations, and consumer processing of stories. Please read the following new product concept thoroughly and evaluate it afterwards by answering the questions below. Ann's week starts with her Monday exercises, during which she measures her calorie consumption with Health Monitor's external chest strap sensor.

When she gets home, she puts the strap next to the Health Monitor on the table in her living room and the exercise data automatically transfer to the Health Monitor. When she starts her daily routine of interactions with the Health Monitor, her daily food intake can be manually entered into the Health Monitor. She can browse through the suggestions on the Health Monitor's screen about groceries and recipes to help her reach her dietary targets healthily and sustainably. Next, she straps on the blood pressure wristband, and waits a moment for the blood pressure data to be measured and wirelessly transferred to the Health Monitor.

Ann can also take a blood sample by inserting her fingertip into a tube at the side of the Health Monitor. She is pricked by a thin needle that she barely feels and wipes the blood drops onto a control strip inside the Health Monitor. This way, the Health Monitor records her cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and nutrient balance. On a weekly basis, the Health Monitor automatically sends Ann's data to her doctor.

Through online consultations, the doctor analyzes this data longitudinally and looks for changes in the key indicators to detect early evidence of dangerous diseases, such as cancer or cardiac diseases. On Friday, Ann enters her food intake and weight measurement, and the Health Monitor records her blood values in the usual way. Next, she studies the results of the weekly analysis that she received from her doctor on the screen of the Health Monitor.

She ponders the few options that the device suggests for lowering her cholesterol values, which have been above average over the last two weeks. Thereafter, Ann plugs the Health Monitor into her laptop, logs into the Health Monitor website, presses the button for groceries, and receives information on the prices and sales of the suggested groceries at the supermarkets in her vicinity.

Ann selects the grocery items she wants, and, instead of ordering them online as she sometimes does, she prints her selection. She wants to meet a friend at a coffee shop in half an hour and plans to buy the selected items on her way home. She grabs the list and her phone and leaves the house. Health Monitor's external chest strap sensor can measure calorie consumption when exercising. At home, the strap needs to be next to the Health Monitor that can be on the living room table.

As soon as the strap is placed near the Health Monitor, exercise data are automatically transferred to the Health Monitor. The daily food intake can be entered manually into the Health Monitor as part of a daily routine of interactions. The Health Monitor's screen shows suggestions about groceries and recipes to reach dietary targets healthily and sustainably way through which the user can browse. With the blood pressure wristband, it takes a moment to measure the blood pressure data that are wirelessly transferred to the Health Monitor. A blood sample can be taken by inserting a fingertip into a tube at the side of the Health Monitor.

A thin needle that can barely be felt pricks the finger and blood drops need to be wiped onto a control strip inside the Health Monitor. The Health Monitor records cholesterol levels, the blood sugar, and the nutrient balance. On a weekly basis, the Health Monitor automatically sends data to a doctor. Through online consultations, a doctor analyzes these data longitudinally and looks for changes in the key indicators to detect early evidence of dangerous diseases, such as cancer or cardiac diseases. Food intake and weight measurements can be entered, and the Health Monitor also records blood values.

The results of the weekly analysis by a doctor can be studied on the screen of the Health Monitor. The device suggests options to respond to medical data such as high cholesterol values. Information can be provided on the prices and sale of the suggested groceries in the supermarkets in the vicinity. To do so, the Health Monitor needs to be plugged into a laptop, its website needs to be accessed, and the groceries button needs to be pressed.

The website provides the possibility to order selected items online, or to print the selection. The latter is necessary if, for example, the groceries can be bought on the way home after a coffee appointment with a friend and the printed list is needed. Furthermore, the authors would like to thank all colleagues who assisted in contacting respondents and organizing the experiment. In particular, the authors would like to express their gratitude to Daniela Groissmayr, Sarah Grueneis, Sonja Gruenzweil, Christiane Rau, and Cornelia Rehberger for their support in the qualitative data analysis.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. The Journal of Product Innovation Management. J Prod Innov Manage. Published online Aug 1. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Fiona Schweitzer, Email: ta. Corresponding author. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract This article investigates the role of transportation in concept tests i. WorldCat via FirstSearch WorldCat via FirstSearch contains bibliographic information for books and multimedia owned by libraries worldwide. Select Books Beckley, Jacqueline H. Boyle, Raymond. British focus. Burkus, David. First edition. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass, Cagan, Jonathan.

Upper Saddle River, N. J: FT Press, Cellini, Roberto, and Luca Lambertini, eds. Bingley: Emerald, Contributions to Economic Analysis New York: Harper Business, The Management of Innovation and Change Series. Cooper, Brant. Hoboken, N. J: Wiley, Cooper, Robert G. Portfolio Management for New Products. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Pub, New York: Basic Books, Kahn, Kenneth B. Kumar, Vijay.


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