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Knowledge Acquisition Asymmetries and Innovation Radicalness


  • Matthew Marvel is an Associate Professor and Vitale Research Fellow in the Department of Management at Western Kentucky University.

M. Marvel, Management Department, Western Kentucky University, 234 Grise Hall, 1906 College Heights, Bowling Green, KY 42101-1063, USA. T: 270-745-4343. E-mail:


This study extends a knowledge-based theory of opportunity discovery to innovation creation using degree of radicalness. Findings from a sample of 166 founders of new technology ventures in university incubators suggest that asymmetries in knowledge acquisition during early venture development are vital to innovation creation. Innovation radicalness was positively associated with acquiring knowledge of customer problems and markets. However, acquiring knowledge of ways to serve markets was negatively associated with innovation radicalness. This suggests a counterintuitive conclusion—the less technology entrepreneurs know about comparable offerings in the market and how to development them, the greater their chances of creating breakthrough innovations.