Silent innovation: corporate strategizing in early nanotechnology evolution

Maj Munch Andersen

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    Nanotechnology offers a rare opportunity to study the early evolution of a new generic technology in real time. This paper suggests focusing more on the market formation side, rather than technology generation, when seeking to explain technology evolution. Applying an evolutionary capabilities perspective, the paper examines how firms organize innovation in the early embryonic stages of a technology and how the market as a selective device undergoes qualitative change as part of economic evolution. The traditional Danish window chain is used as a case. A model of nanotechnology evolution is proposed which suggests that nanotechnology commercialization is significantly driven by small and medium-sized firms based on their internal knowhow, with larger firms as important suppliers of know how. These smaller firms are adept at addressing social needs which appear to be key factors in the nano-commercialization process. A taxonomy of nine enterprise strategies for entry into nanotechnology is suggested. The paper identifies a marked shift in marketing strategizing among the nanotechnology innovative companies, from being “loud” around the turn of the millennium to becoming increasingly “silent” at the present time, illustrating the unconsolidated stage of the current nanotechnology market.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)680-696
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Windows
    • Construction
    • Technology evolution
    • Evolutionary capabilities
    • Evolutionary economics
    • Corporate strategy
    • Green nanotechnology
    • Eco-innovation
    • Nanotechnology

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