Exploring How Consumers Make Sense of Innovation
The Conference Board of Canada recently described Canada’s performance on innovation as “stunningly poor.” A key challenge facing Canada is how to promote knowledge transfer and commercialization initiatives that will lead to more innovation in products and services. But a central hurdle in achieving commercialization is Canadian consumers’ reluctance to embrace innovative products and services.
As Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurial Innovation and the Public Good, Dr. Theodore Noseworthy wants to increase consumer acceptance of innovative products by increasing our understanding of how we make sense of innovation.
Combining cognitive psychology with economic theory, Noseworthy hopes to learn more about how receptive consumers are to innovations in three specific areas: consumer behaviour and new consumer markets; food innovation; and the connection between new currency and consumption.
For example, Noseworthy’s research on radical disruptive innovations—such as the LCD or plasma televisions that replaced the old tube televisions—will increase our understanding of how consumer behavior influences the creation of new markets. His food innovation research will shed light on the factors affecting consumer choices with regard to junk foods that are marketed as healthy. His third area of research will explore whether changing Canadian money from paper to polymer is influencing our consumption habits.
The knowledge generated by Noseworthy’s research will not only help marketers find ways to encourage consumers to adopt innovative goods and services, but will also educate businesses, policymakers and consumers about the costs of innovation for susceptible consumers and society.