Action at the front end of innovation


F. Schweitzer, I. Gabriel - Action at the front end of innovation - International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 16, No. 6, 2012


In recent years, the front end of innovation has drawn a great deal of attention as an important driver of new product development (NPD) success. In this study, we analyze the impact of knowledge gathering, project planning, interfunctional collaboration and formalization on the ability to reduce technical and market uncertainties, creativity, and the efficiency of the early stages. 352 Austrian b2b-companies from technology-intensive sectors participated in the study. The results indicate that collaboration quality, formalization of the different phases of the front end and identification of customer-needs are fundamental for front-end performance, while collaboration quantity is less important. Moreover, planning was found to be central for efficiency and did not have a negative impact on creativity. Managerial recommendations from the study include scrutinizing the way in which interfunctional collaboration takes place, increasing customer integration and formalizing the early phases.