Business model configuration and dynamics for technology commercialization in mature markets

22 Nov 2017

Purpose: The food industry is a well-established and complex industry. New entrants attempting to penetrate it via the commercialization of a new technological innovation could face high uncertainty and constraints. The capability to innovate through collaboration and to identify suitable strategies and innovative business models can be particularly important for bringing a technological innovation to this market. However, although the potential for these capabilities has been advocated, we still lack a complete understanding of how new ventures could support the technology commercialization process via the development of business models. Design/methodology/approach: To address this gap, this paper 1) builds a conceptual framework that knits together the different bodies of extant literature (i.e. entrepreneurship, strategy and innovation) to analyse the business model innovation processes associated with the exploitation of emerging technologies; 2) determines the suitability of the framework using data from the exploratory case study of ISIT3D - a firm which has started to exploit 3D printing in the food industry; 3) improves the initial conceptual framework with the findings that emerged in the case study. Findings: From this analysis it emerged that: 1) companies could use more than one BM at a time; hence, BM innovation processes could coexist and be run in parallel; 2) the facing of high uncertainty might lead firms to choose a closed and/or a familiar business model, while explorative strategies could be pursued with open business models; 3) significant changes in strategies during the technology commercialisation process are not necessarily reflected in a radical change in the business model and 4) firms could deliberately adopt interim strategies and BMs as means to identify the more suitable ones to reach the market. Originality/value: This case study illustrates how firms could innovate the processes of their BM development to face the uncertainties linked with the entry into a mature and highly conservative industry (food).