An empirically based typology of product innovativeness for new financial services : success and failure scenarios

Avlonitis, George and Papastathopoulou, Paulina and Gounaris, Spiros (2001) An empirically based typology of product innovativeness for new financial services : success and failure scenarios. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 18 (5). pp. 324-341. ISSN 0737-6782 (

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During the last decade, an increasing number of studies have been concerned with the factors that lead to new service success. Quite a few studies, however, have examined the role of product innovativeness in new service development and performance. The present article aims to test empirically a widespread, yet under-researched argument, according to which, different innovative types may be associated with different development patterns and performance outcomes. On the basis of a detailed literature review we designed the conceptual framework for the present study. More specifically, we propose that the performance outcome of a new service is the result of the development process followed, which, in turn, is influenced by the innovativeness of the new service. The development process is examined through three blocks of variables, namely new service development activities (i.e., the "what" component), process formality (i.e., the "how" component) and cross-functional involvement (i.e., the "who" component). Performance is viewed in relation to both financial and non-financial outcomes. The different dimensions of innovativeness form the basis of our classification scheme. To collect the data, we followed the "dropping off" method. That is, we handed in self-administered questionnaires to participants and, a picking-up appointment was set. Respondents were NSD project leaders who were asked to select two financial services, one successful and one unsuccessful, that they had developed within the last three years and reply to all questions relating to the development and launching of these services. Overall, 84 financial companies participated in the study, providing data for 132 new financial services (80 successes and 52 failures) developed and marketed in Greece. Data analysis revealed that six distinct service innovativeness types exist. They can be represented in the form of a continuum depending on the degree of innovativeness that characterizes each type. At the most innovative extreme of the continuum we find the new-to-the-market services followed by new-to-the-company services, new delivery processes, service modifications, service line extensions, while at the least innovative end service repositionings are placed. These six types are found to be associated with different development patterns in terms of activities, formality and cross-functional involvement as well as performance outcomes. Interestingly enough, our data suggest an almost inverted U-shaped relationship between the degree of innovativeness of a new financial service and financial performance. On the other hand, the major service innovations make the strongest contribution on non-financial performance, while "me-too" offerings are the least successful ones. The study has a number of research contributions as well as implications for managers involved in new service development in the financial services industry. The conceptualization of the continuum of innovativeness helps disclosing the critical points of the NSD process and its structuring which, depending of the type of new service and the degree of innovativeness that characterizes it, ensures that the management's objectives regarding the performance of the new service are attained.