Key Success Factors of Innovation in Multinational Agri-food Prospector Companies

Conference object English OPEN
Fortuin, F.T.J.M. ; Batterink, M.H. ; Omta, S.W.F. (2007)

The Wageningen Innovation Assessment Tool (WIAT) compares the self assessment of the drivers and barriers to innovation at the company level and the critical success and failure factors of innovation at the project level with data of agrifood prospector firms around the world. In total 46 innovation projects, 11 successfully concluded and 6 failed projects, as well as 29 running projects in 12 multinational agrifood prospector companies in the Netherlands and France, two innovation consortia and one knowledge institution are discussed. It is concluded that the innovation process of agrifood prospector companies can be substantially improved by revealing the tacit knowledge of the innovation project team by use of WIAT. The key success factors identified are team communication, product superiority and market potential. It is further concluded that innovation project teams should be cross-functional and feature a heavyweight project leader. Based on the finding that the innovation teams of successful projects show higher awareness of the market characteristics, it is concluded that agrifood prospector companies need to pay extra attention to market and product related upfront activities. The finding that the respondents of both successful and failed projects give relatively low scores for marketing and distribution resources and skills, should therefore be considered as an early warning signal for the agrifood industry as a whole.
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