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Opportunity Orientation

The majority of new products or services are the consequence of the acquisition of market information which identifies either customer dissatisfaction or the emergence of an unfulfilled need. In recognition of the benefits of acquiring this knowledge, large organisations, especially in branded consumer goods markets, rely heavily on market research studies to regularly assess consumer awareness, attitudes and usage patterns (Mele et al. 2015). Furthermore the advent of big data has provided firms with the ability to access and analyse much larger data sets by linking formal market research with real-time data from sources such as social media sites. The potential drawback, however, of relying upon market data to identify new opportunities is when the customer is not able to articulate a specific current or future need. This lack of customer ability is known as ‘latent need’ (Key and Hufenbach 2014).

Technological entrepreneurs are less likely to be concerned with accessing market information at the outset of a new development project. This is because their motivation involves either seeking a new application for existing or emerging technology, or researching a new approach to solving a known problem. As a consequence they will tend to postpone any consideration of the commercial viability of their idea until progress has been achieved over validating that technology is capable of providing a viable solution. Even at this stage and especially in the presence of latent need, the entrepreneur will often initiate market entry on the basis of strong self-belief or intuition that an adequate level of customer demand will eventually emerge (Gregoire and Shepherd 2012).

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