Explaining incubators using firm analogy
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2009

Incubators are initiated to accelerate the development of new technology-based firms. Policy actors see them as a tool to initiate or revive innovativeness in regions and universities as a way to commercialize research results. However, even though the intended results of the incubator are good it is not known how the incubator should be managed and organized in order to achieve this end. When faced with a new type of organizations analogies can provide insights gathered from other contexts. To contribute to the further understanding of incubators this paper discuss the implications, in terms of highlighted dimensions and further clarifications needed when using the analogy of a firm. The paper uses empirical findings from six incubators. The discussion shows it is not clear who is the actual customer of the incubator. For example, can the policy actors that provide the funding to the incubator be seen as a customer paying for the service of regional revival and the NTBFs customers when their fees are not in relation to the services they are provided? In the discussion it is suggested that the incubator can have many customers with different value creation processes or no customers depending on the viewpoint taken.


New technology-based firm


Professional service firm



Lise Aaboen

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Supply and Operations Management


0166-4972 (ISSN)

Vol. 29 657-670


Annan maskinteknik