Digital product innovation approaches in entrepreneurial firms – the role of entrepreneurs’ cognitive frames

Raluca Bunduchi*, Catalina Crisan-Mitra, Irina-Iulia Salanta, Emil Crisan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

What explains how entrepreneurial firms organise digital product innovation? A unique characteristic of digital artefacts is their perpetual incompleteness, as they are “constantly in the making”. This study examines the role that this constant change that characterises digital artifacts plays in explaining how small, entrepreneurial firms manage digital product innovation. Drawing from research on founder identity and employing a cognitive frame theoretical lens, we employ a multi-case study research design involving 15 founders of small size digital ventures. Our analysis finds that the entrepreneurs developed substantive interpretations about change in the content of their product, and about the nature of the process involved in the development and commercialisation of their products. Based on combinations between product change frames (minor versus major) and change in process frames (stable versus dynamic process frames), we identify four distinct approaches entrepreneurial firms take to manage digital product innovations. These approaches include: strategic innovation, experimental innovation, content innovation and learning experiments. Our findings contribute to product innovation research by developing a typology that provides a new conceptualisation of the approaches to manage innovation in digital products that takes into account the continuous change that characterises the content and process involved in digital artefacts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number121343
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date13 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • digital product innovation
  • entrepreneurial firms
  • individual actors
  • cognitive frame
  • new product development


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