Management Information Systems Quarterly


Digital ventures must navigate a key tension as they design new digital market offerings—that is, products or services that are embodied in digital technologies or enabled by them. On the one hand, digital ventures pursue a vision that builds on what might be possible through the generative potential that digital technology offers; on the other hand, they face an environment in the here and now, with existing customer preferences, extant regulations, and legacy technology. Taking a designing view, we trace how six independent digital ventures in the German financial services industry dealt with this tension as they created their digital market offerings. Our findings suggest that digital ventures enact three designing mechanisms to resolve the tension: bounding the technology scope, transposing through digital objects, and probing the solution space. Through these mechanisms, digital ventures construct a buffer—one that has functional, material, and temporal dimensions—between the vision they gradually realize through their market offering and the here-and-now conditions of the environment that digital ventures enter.