Background Decisions on adoption of technological innovation are difficult for manufacturers, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who have limited resources but often drive product development. Decision analytic methods have been applied to regulatory issues in the nanotechnology sector but such applications to market innovation are not found in the literature. Value of information (VoI) is a decision analytic method for quantifying the benefit of acquiring additional information to support such analyses that can be used to help in a wide range of manufacturing decisions. Results This paper develops a VoI methodology for comparative evaluation of technological alternatives and applies it to a real case study aimed at the selection between a coating system containing nano-TiO2 and alternative conventional paints. The aim of this approach is to aid SMEs and larger industries in deciding whether to further develop the nano-enabled product and in evaluating to which extent investing in more research about risks and/or benefits would be worthwhile. Conclusions Results demonstrated how prioritization in information gaining can improve risk–benefit analyses and impact on both risk management and innovation decision making. By applying the proposed methodology, SMEs and larger industries might easily identify optimal data gathering and/or research strategies to formulate solid development and risk management plans.
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