How can the front-end of product innovations be structured?


F. Schweitzer, K. Gaubinger, O. Gassmann - How can the front-end of product innovations be structured? - Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference, 17.-20. June 2012, Barcelona, Barcelona, Spanien, 2012, pp. 12


This paper focuses on managerial decision processes at the front end of innovation projects in high-tech companies of the machine-building industry. We first give an overview of current theoretical process models used to organize front-end decision making. Second, we present the results of our empirical case studies, where we found that companies do not follow a single process but have different front end processes for different types of projects related to their degree of innovativeness. In many cases, they have only one official process in place, but deviate from it in the majority of projects. Furthermore, companies encountered difficulties in connecting strategy and front-end decision-making, as well as in transforming customer input to specific technical requirements. Finally, theoretical and practical implications of our study are discussed.