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Product-Service System Innovation Capabilities: Linkages between the Fuzzy Front End and subsequent development phases
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2090-0423
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
2017 (English)In: International Journal of Production Research, ISSN 0020-7543, E-ISSN 1366-588XArticle in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

In an attempt to remain competitive, manufacturers increasingly offer integrated product-service systems (PSSs). This transition from physical products to PSSs calls for new ways of working, for example in the product development process. However, so far only limited attention has been put on capabilities needed to succeed with PSS innovation in the very early development phases – often referred to as the fuzzy front end (FFE). This article, therefore, has a dual aim: first, to further our understanding of capabilities for PSS innovation in the FFE, and second, to determine how these capabilities are linked to PSS innovation capabilities needed in subsequent development phases. Empirical data were collected from an ongoing industrial project developing an innovative PSS offering in a large manufacturing company. Individuals connected to the project reported major challenges, both experienced in the FFE and anticipated in later phases, which provided valuable information regarding capabilities needed to succeed with the endeavour. Findings reveal four links of PSS innovation capabilities: (1) adapting vocabulary and mental models to PSS, (2) handling the ‘intangible aspect’, (3) bridging organisational structures, and (4) managing new business models. PSS innovation capabilities in the FFE are also found to be of higher order (dynamic) compared to capabilities in later development phases

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017.
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Product Innovation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-63019DOI: 10.1080/00207543.2017.1365181OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-63019DiVA: diva2:1088480
Available from: 2017-04-12 Created: 2017-04-12 Last updated: 2017-09-01
In thesis
1. Characteristics of Production Innovation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Characteristics of Production Innovation
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Today firms must maintain high levels of efficiency, quality control, customer responsiveness and speed, but even the full set of these attributes is not sufficient for sustainable competitive advantage. A further challenging requirement is to innovate successfully, not only in product development but also in production. Traditionally, innovation is regarded as successful product development, and delivering innovative products of sufficient quality at a reasonable price is seen as the primary means of acquiring and maintaining competitiveness. In this context, the role of production development is simply to provide production solutions required for the realization of new products. However, production development (sometimes called ‘production improvement’ or ‘process innovation in production’) may also involve continuous incremental or radical improvement of current production processes or systems in terms of productivity, cost, speed, quality, and/or flexibility.

Previous research provides a rather narrow view of production development, largely ignoring value creation, which obscures its importance for organizations. Due to the lack of attention to innovativeness in production development, limited effort is also made to understand how to manage production development projects as innovation processes, where the emphasis is on obtaining value. This retards progress and restrains organizations’ competitiveness, and to some extent the potential social benefits (such as increases in sustainability) of new production technologies. Thus, the primary objective of the research this thesis is based upon was to increase understanding of distinguishing features and valuable outcomes of production innovation, together with challenges in managing production innovation processes. Data underlying this research were collected through case studies of development projects in firms operating in several industries.

The research findings show that the pursued outcomes of production innovation are mainly cost reductions and increases in quality. Nevertheless, production innovation also contributes with expansion of product design space, and strengthening innovation capabilities, which in themselves provide sustainable competitive advantage. Further, production innovation is highly dependent on successful implementation – a complex endeavour involving internal organization, external customers and other actors contributing to the production system. Organizations lack support for capturing, prioritization, decision making and resource allocation in production innovation processes, a topic that warrants further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2017
Series
Licentiate thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1757
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Product Innovation
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-63023 (URN)978-91-7583-880-9 (ISBN)978-91-7583-881-6 (ISBN)
Presentation
2017-06-08, A1123, Luleå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-04-13 Created: 2017-04-12 Last updated: 2017-05-16Bibliographically approved

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