Pathways from Discovery to Commercialization: Using Web Sources to Track Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Strategies in Emerging Nanotechnologies

J. Youtie, D. Hicks, P. Shapira, T. Horsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is a growing need for fresh and systematic evidence about company innovation behaviors in domains of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology. It is particularly important to track shifts from discovery to commercialization at the later stages of the innovation process, where a variety of product and financial strategies may be pursued. This paper presents pilot study results using a new approach to researching innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based on a web-scraping and content analysis of current and archived enterprise web sites. We use this novel approach to explore nanotechnology SMEs transitions from discovery to commercialization and to understand how transitions vary by SME characteristics, technology and market sectors. A sample of 30 US nanotechnology SME web sites is analyzed, covering a time period that ranges from 1997 to 2010. Our findings suggest that although the idealized linear innovation model is present, important instances of divergence exist. In particular, federal funding and conferences, both expected to characterize early research stages also play a role in late stage commercialization. Factor analysis uncovered sectoral differences in financing approaches and the use of research between nanobiotechnology, nanoelectronics and nanoenergy. While this pilot analysis has limitations of sample size, the study does demonstrate the potential of using web-scraping techniques to offer new insights about enterprise commercialization strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-995
Number of pages14
JournalTechnology Analysis & Strategic Management
Volume24
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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