A Good Idea is Not Enough: Understanding the Challenges of Entrepreneurship Communication

This paper addresses a less-investigated issue of innovations: entrepreneurship communication. Business and marketing studies demonstrate that new product development processes do not succeed on good technical invention alone. To succeed, the invention must be appropriately communicated to a market and iterated through dialogue with potential stakeholders. We explore this issue by examining communication-related challenges, abilities and barriers from the perspectives of innovators trying to enter an unfamiliar, foreign market. Specifically, we summarize results of a set of studies conducted in the Gyeonggi Innovation Program (GIP), an entrepreneurship program formed by a partnership between the University of Texas at Austin and Gyeonggi-Do Province in South Korea. Through the GIP, Korean entrepreneurs attempt to expand domestically successful product ideas to the American market. The study results demonstrate that these innovators must deal with a broad range of challenges, particularly (1) developing deeper understanding of market needs, values, and cultural expectations, and (2) producing pitches with the structure, claims and evidence, and engagement strategies expected by American stakeholders. These studies confirm that a deeper understanding of successful new product development (NPD) projects requires not only a culturally authentic NPD process model, but also communication-oriented research. The GIP approach offers insights into good programmatic concept and effective methods for training engineers to become entrepreneurs. Yet we also identify potential improvements for such programs. Finally, we draw implications for studying entrepreneurship communication.