Here we simply wish to point out that this also implies that innovative

Here we simply wish to point out that this also

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process and not as a reversible model. Here, we simply wish to point out that this also implies that innovative opportunities differ over time, but more importantly, that they unfold in such a way that they may not be perceived—much less calculated upon fully rationally— by firms and others. Actors do not simply perceive well-defined opportunities in advance. Rather, they often perceive rather vague contours of possible opportunities, and then their actions (and those of others) add to the experimentation which in its turn opens up sets of opportunities. Which alternatives were relatively more or less successful as innovations will however only show ex post . 4.3. How Innovative Opportunities Inform our Understanding of Innovation Activities and Industrial Dynamics Let us now turn to how our proposed concept, and conceptual elements, of innovative opportunities modify the existing understanding of innovation activities and industrial dynamics. The first part of the innovative opportunity concept is economic value . Economic What are Innovative Opportunities? 39
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textbooks assume that the value (and prices) of goods and services can be calculated, based on assumptions about how markets work. If factor prices, final markets, technology and so forth are given (that is, known variables), then the economic value of a new technology may also be calculable. However, if the scientific and engineering knowledge is currently being developed for use in a business context, then uncertainty exists which affects future search. There may be uncertainty regarding how the new technique will be used, and not only to what extent it improves existing ways of performing a task or process, and therefore the future economic value can only be perceived, not calculated. 7 Our statement that innovative opportunities stem from a perceived possibility to create economic value (for someone) has implications for understanding economic transformation. First of all, entrepreneurial activities—that in the end result in economic change—derive from the actors’ idiosyncratic views of opportunities. These idiosyncratic perceptions may stem from the entrepreneurs’ differing access to information, but they may also stem from other important factors, such as the knowledge at hand within a firm and the mental frameworks that are used to interpret what is taking place in the environment. This view affects the conceptualization of the use of new scientific and technological knowledge for a business context, as the market uses of this knowledge may be very difficult to identify ex ante . In situations characterized by high uncertainty, there ought to be more pronounced differences in firm perceptions about the potential economic value of an innovation. Consequently, the variety of firm actions in order to pursue opportunities in this situation will accordingly be higher.
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