Managing Technological Uncertainty in Science Incubation:A Prospective Sense-Making Perspective

Friesl, Martin and Ford, Chris and Mason, Katy (2019) Managing Technological Uncertainty in Science Incubation:A Prospective Sense-Making Perspective. R and D Management, 49 (4). pp. 668-683. ISSN 0033-6807

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This paper focuses on the adaption challenge that confronts the top management team (TMT) of science incubators in situations of substantial technological uncertainty. To do that, we draw on the three-year longitudinal analysis of a major bioscience catalyst in the United Kingdom. Through the lens of 'prospective sensemaking', we follow the TMT as they work with stakeholders in their ecosystem to make sense of a significant technological shift: the convergence of life sciences, IT and other sciences in the health care environment. Our analysis reveals how prospective sensemaking resulted in the launch of a new strategy to exploit these emerging opportunities. However, stakeholders' increasingly fragmented interpretation of the term convergence and the anticipation of legitimacy challenges in the wider ecosystem resulted in the repositioning of the incubator. Our findings contribute to extant research on science incubation. In particular, the paper sheds light on the complex interactions of incubator TMT's with stakeholders in situations of technological change and uncertainty. Moreover, responding to technological change does not only affect the structural conditions of an incubator. Rather, it may also require changes to the positioning of the incubator in order to maintain legitimacy in the wider ecosystem. The paper also suggests managerial as well as policy-level implications.

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Journal Article
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R and D Management
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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Friesl, M., Ford, C.J. and Mason, K. (2019), Managing technological uncertainty in science incubation: a prospective sensemaking perspective. R&D Management, 49: 668-683. doi:10.1111/radm.12356 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
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11 Jun 2020 08:43
Last Modified:
16 Jun 2020 05:49