Implications of Chaos Research for New Product Forecasting

Fred Phillips, Nam Woon Kim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The mathematics of chaotic dynamics are now familiar to product forecasters and marketing researchers. Do possible sightings of chaos in new product data sets have implications for the way new product studies and launches should be performed? Should these practices be affected by the knowledge that chaos is possible in principle? Although the mathematics of new product diffusion models clearly allow for chaotic bifurcations and fluctuations, these phenomena have not been reliably observed for actual products. In this article we offer reasons why this has been so. The reasons include measurement and specification error, and aggregation and data collection interval effects. We conclude that marketers have not been looking in the right places to find chaos (or at least traditional market research reports do not lend themselves to an effective search for chaos), and that brand managers behave in a way that minimizes chances of observing chaos. The exploration of chaos in the context of new product management leads to an analysis of the implications of chaos for the practice of new product forecasting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-261
Number of pages23
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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