Resource-Constrained Innovation: A Viable Strategy for Firms in the Australian Food Processing Industry?

Hamburg University of Technology
  • Resource-constrained innovation
  • food processing
  • Innovation
  • frugal innovation
  • cost innovation
  • good enough innovation
  • Australia
  • 000: Allgemeines, Wissenschaft
  • As a strategy to develop new markets, resource-constrained innovation (RCI) is the road less-travelled by Australian food processing firms. Despite the unique challenges of this approach, elsewhere in the world firms are having significant successes. Among scholars, interest in this topic is gaining momentum because of its perceived importance to billions of resource-constrained consumers globally. In this pilot study we use a qualitative approach by means of semi-structured interviews with six industry experts to gain an inclination of the awareness and engagement levels of RCI and the challenges managers face when contemplating RCI. We employ the principles of Design Thinking to firstly obtain an in-depth understanding of the issue and Integrated Thinking that allows for considering a diverse variety of conditions and opinions from various stakeholders, thus following an inclusive process that considers as many relevant viewpoints as possible. The findings indicate that the priority areas are a lack of RCI understanding among managers at all organisational levels; how to avoid damaging existing premium brands when RCI is part of the product-mix; and the sea change in mindset and practice that would be necessary to pursue RCI with reasonable success. Based on these preliminary findings, we recommend that firms do not abandon their current approach of ‘bigger and better’ when developing premium products and markets, but to simultaneously explore the potential impact of ‘smaller but good enough’ thinking when addressing the needs of resource-constrained consumers. Our significant findings lay the foundations for structuring further in-depth quantitative studies that will assist Australian policymakers, industry advisors, company boards, strategists, company shareholders and investors, and new product development teams with much-needed understanding on how to support, promote and pursue RCI.
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