A central tenant of a firm’s value-creating mission involves the ability to innovate (Drucker, 1985). Extant innovation literature focuses predominately on technology as a form of innovation, and often does not explicitly relate innovation to customer value. However, more recently scholars have begun to recognize the need of focusing on the value created by innovation. To demonstrate, Chen and Sawhney (2011) propose four dimensions of innovation for firms - offering-oriented innovation, customer-oriented innovation, operations-oriented innovation, and partner- oriented innovation, and twelve types - product, platform, solution, customer need, interface, communication, value capture, management, process, supply chain, channel, and ecosystem (also, see Wolcott and Lippitz, 2009). They argue that innovation should be driven by the purpose - creating customer value, rather than the means, e.g. technology.

The evolutionary view of business emphasizes that a firm’s purpose evolves over time, which ultimately involves a higher level of consciousness, seeking more than just maximization of productivity and profits (Nelson and Winter, 1977). In the family business context, a greater level of complexity exists as the firm and the family evolve concurrently. Increasingly, family values are seen as pivotal to driving the firm’s long-term value creation.

To examine this complexity, in this exploratory research we enlist Chen and Sawhney’s 12-dimension innovation framework to establish business innovation, and the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS) (Rokeach, 1973; also, see Tomczyk, Lee, and Winslow, 2013) to assess family values. We examine the research question: In family firms, is there a difference between how innovation is perceived by, and manifests in family versus non-family decision- makers, and specifically, how do values impact this process?