Managing highly innovative projects: the influence of design characteristics on project valuation
The climate change debate and economic recovery strategies in various industries demand highly innovative projects featuring stretched performance goals for developing clean technology. These projects face multiple sources of uncertainty in high risk situations, and require specialized know-how and longer periods for revenue growth than their counterparts in other industries. We use data from 207 clean technology projects funded by the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to conduct a comparative study of how operations design can hedge risk and enhance project valuation in technology development and deployment stages. We find that deployment feasibility is significantly and positively related to project valuation. On the other hand, stretched technical performance goals, development feasibility and market growth targets are associated with lower valuation. We also find some significant differences for these results across institution types: mature firms, start-ups, universities, and research centers. We examine the risk profile of these projects by technology and institution type, and discuss the managerial and policy implications for these findings.