In the most recent edition of the Journal of Creativity and Innovation Management, I ran into an interesting article about being a startup versus being an early adaptor. The article suggests that early adaptors have a higher probability to succeed in the case of non-technological environments than the startups that proceed them.
The article suggests that startups or pioneers usually focus on Business Model Innovation. They create radical business models, that are designed for a sole purpose and often opportunity driven. Startups tend to focus less on managing and organizing innovation. According to the authors, there way of organizing the business is spontaneous, reactive and loosely-designed.
On the other hand, the early adaptors have more time and capacity to focus on both business model innovation and managing innovation at the same time. That way, they address business models innovation in a systematic, planned and integral manner. And on top of that, they address the organization of innovation in a way that it is deliberate, complementary to and interplaying with the business model.
As the authors state: “But there is a question over how early an adapter of innovations may want to engage in innovative business models. When it comes to innovation in small, entrepreneurial firms in CIs, early adopters of organizational innovations are the early birds who get the worm, and close early followers relying on multiple non-technological initiatives may also benefit from being the second mouse and get the cheese. Engagement in BMI can pay off for earlier adopters. An innovative business model is a valuable corporate asset. However, our study suggests that this is perceived to be a risky decision. Only firms with superior organizational capabilities and resources should engage in pioneer BMI. Early followers may be better suited to managing sustained non-technological innovations. Allegedly, by combining BMI and MI, small, entrepreneurial firms in CIs may cope with changes in activity without some of the risks that newcomers face.”