Challenges and success factors in pursuing disruptive innovations: A Finnish high-tech start-up case study

This article addresses the main issues faced by Finnish start-ups  which pursue disruptive innovations and increases our understanding how the issues can be resolved through the experiences of a case company.

Abstract: Despite increasing acknowledgment of disruptive innovations for their potential to generate high growth, their high rate of failure necessitates research on what kind of challenges start-ups pursuing disruptive innovations face and how they overcome them. This study contributes to increase understanding in this field by studying the case of a Finnish high-tech start-up’s successful new-market disruption in business-to-business context. Identifying disruptive innovations that have market potential, obtaining adequate funding at initial stages of the business, marketing of the disruptive innovation, and the length and riskiness of the process are main challenges in Finland. Success factors derived from the case study and insights of an expert practitioner of the field provide a roadmap for start-ups to overcome these challenges. Findings from this business-to-business study challenge the disruptive innovation theory which has been created in the context of business-to-consumer innovations.

Keywords: Disruptive innovation, new-market disruption, business-to-business, high-tech, start-up, Finland


Liisa Majamäki, corresponding author, liisa.ocarroll (at)

Murat Akpinar, JAMK University of Applied Sciences, School of Business, Rajakatu 35, 40200, Jyväskylä, Finland, murat.akpinar (at)

See video interview of the authors here.

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