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Process models for managing front-end - case studies from finnsih industry

: Poskela, J.; Nordlund, H.; Perttula, M.; Kohn, S.; Berg, P.

University of Western Sydney, InCITe Research Centre:
Continuous Innovation. Strategic Priorities for the Global Knowledge Economy. CD-ROM : Proceedings of the 5th International CINet Conference, 22 - 25 September, 2004, Sydney, Australia
Sydney, 2004
International Continuous Innovation Network Conference (CINet) <5, 2004, Sydney>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer TEG ()
Innovationsprozeß; Innovationsmanagement; product life cycle; Produktlebenszyklus; Innovation

We are living an era of rapid change. New emerging technologies, shortening product life cycles, more demanding customers, and increasing global competition force companies to be more innovative in order to maintain their competitive advantage and to provide prosperity to their owners. In order to successfully cope with increased market dynamic and pace of change companies need to develop effective and efficient innovation processes that ensure continous stream of new products. According to recent studies, the front-end (FE) phase of the innovation process represents the most critical and challenging phase of the whole innovation process, and simultaneously the greatest opportunity to improve organizations´ overall innovation capability. Despite the criticalness of this phase there has been relatively little research on its best practices so far. The purpose of this article is to contribute new theory and empirical insight by examining managerial FE practices and processes in Finnish companies. The article reviews current FE practices and processes, analyzes findings against theoretical frameworks and provides explanations for current situation. Five Finnish companies representing different industrial sectors are selected for more detailed investigation. The research findings are based on case studies including process descriptions, project documentations and semi-structured interviews of responsible persons leading innovation activities in these companies.