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Benefits Of Imitation Over Innovation As An Effective Product Development Strategy

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INTRODUCTION Companies face critical challenges when making strategic choices in new product development. Many organizations aim to remain competitive through innovation, while others opt for strategies of imitation. This paper will focus on the benefits of imitation over innovation as an effective product development strategy. STRATEGIC TYPES According to Robinson (2002), there are three strategic types in product development: 1. Market Pioneers (innovator): Pioneering involves the first to innovate by developing and bringing new products, technologies, or processes to market. Pioneers invest heavily in R&D for new product development (Cheek, 2013). 2. Early Followers (imitator): Followers have the ability to read the market better than innovators, and have a better idea of how to respond to market situations, allowing them to ‘leapfrog’ the innovator with a better, improved product (Cheek, 2013). 3. Late Entrants (imitator): Late entrants have the ability to enter the market using superior distribution, heavy advertising and lower prices. They are not likely to invest in new product development (Cheek, 2013). TYPES OF IMITATION According to the article in businessperspectives.org, “Imitation may be extended to products and services generated by the innovator, as well as to its technologies, procedures, processes, organizational models and market strategies.” Some of the types of (lawful) imitation include the following: • Clones: copies of the original product but sold
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