Stakeholders Contributing to Commercialization of A Radical Innovation at Global Markets: A Single Case Study
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Even though successful commercialization is of great importance to innovative firms, we do not yet know how diverse stakeholders can contribute to commercialization of a radical innovation that require particular market creation support. To explore this phenomenon and to develop the theory of the research field, this study aims to answer the following research questions: Who are the relevant stakeholders that can contribute to commercialization? What kind of activities do stakeholders employ for effective commercialization? What are the motives of stakeholders to be involved in along commercialization? How stakeholders and their activities are interconnected? To answer these questions, a single case is analyzed, which is a functional food i.e. a novel product category between food and medicine at global market settings. The functional food product is a margarine that helps lowering cholesterol, which was invented by a food manufacturing company located in Finland. The case relies on qualitative interviews with regulatory bodies, a research organization, doctors, experts as opinion leaders, licensing partners, marketing managers and scientists as primary data source and extensive secondary data, which mainly consists of books and academic journal articles. Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted and all the interviews were recorded and transcribed by the author. The data is used to analyze the activities of diverse stakeholders that shaped the success of commercialization process of the innovation throughout the years. In addition to the activities, the motives and interests of the stakeholders for being involved in the commercialization process were also examined. Results uncover the contributions by diverse stakeholders to commercialization and market creation. Stakeholders perform activities such as drafting new legislation and food labelling for health claims, conducting safety assessments, product development, finding out consumers’ preferences, communicating benefits of the product to several actors for adoption, gaining the trust of healthcare professionals and patients, and revealing the positive health effects of the ingredient. The results indicate that the motives of such activities are ensuring well-being of people, creating new business ecosystems, contributing to the economy, and creating awareness among public towards a healthy diet and lifestyle, which facilitate the emergence of a market. This study contributes to marketing and innovation management literature and generates practical advice for managers who commercialize (radical) innovations.