The role of individuals' domain knowledge in evaluating radical new product ideas.

F. Denker, K. Eling, C. Herstatt

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


Radical new products are essential drivers of a firm’s profitability and growth. However, two aspects might hinder the proficient selection of radical new product ideas into a firm’s development pipeline. However, the question of whether only individuals with high domain knowledge are able to proficiently evaluate new product and thus whether the importance of domain knowledge might be exaggerated is still unsettled. Especially with research arguing for outsourcing idea evaluation to users, it seems essential to develop a deeper understanding of the role of an individual’s domain knowledge in evaluating radical new product ideas. To address this research question, a quasi-experiment was conducted in which 333 evaluators with different levels of domain knowledge had to evaluate new product ideas with varying degrees of innovativeness. The results show that individuals with higher domain knowledge generally rated ideas more negative in terms of their originality and use value and more positive in terms of their feasibility. Most importantly, the data reveals that evaluators with low domain knowledge seem to undervalue the quality of radical new product idea, especially in terms of their use value. Based on these results, it is argued that it is highly important to employ evaluators who possess comprehensive knowledge about the users’ needs and wants (need knowledge) and the given technology in the domain (solution knowledge) in the evaluation of radical new product ideas. This conclusion has important implications for the internal staffing of front-end teams and screening or gate committees and sets clear boundaries for leveraging “the crowd” in an open evaluation setting.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2016


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