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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.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2062-4318
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.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9592-3809
2018 (English)In: International Journal of Production Research, ISSN 0020-7543, E-ISSN 1366-588X, Vol. 56, no 6, p. 2218-2232Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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, 2018. Vol. 56, no 6, p. 2218-2232
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Product Innovation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-63019DOI: 10.1080/00207543.2017.1365181ISI: 000433967100009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-63019DiVA, id: diva2:1088480
Note

Validerad;2018;Nivå 2;2018-06-01 (svasva)

Available from: 2017-04-12 Created: 2017-04-12 Last updated: 2020-01-31Bibliographically approved
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: 2018-01-09Bibliographically approved
2. A Conceptual Framework for Production Innovation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Conceptual Framework for Production Innovation
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Production plays a central role in the global sustainability challenge the world is facing. Rising population numbers and increased middle class lead to even higher consumption and production of goods. Hence, the production industry has a large responsibility, and innovative products and ways of producing can make a significant difference in terms of sustainability, both on company and global level, by increased consideration of long-term benefits and consequences. In addition, a major shift in the global production industry takes place, from previously mainly manufacturing goods, towards currently providing more and more sophisticated solutions to satisfy the ever increasing and varying needs of customers. To address these challenges, well-developed abilities to innovate production processes are required, in order to deliver both incremental and radical improvements on a short-term and long-term basis. One of the more enduring ideas in organization science is that an organization’s long-term success depends on its ability to exploit its current capabilities while simultaneously exploring fundamentally new capabilities. Although it is known that both approaches are needed in a long-term perspective, exploitative innovations tend to be over-represented in established manufacturing firms, since short term measures, meeting demands of existing customers, and ease of measurement often are dominant concerns. To focus solely on exploitative innovation is not truly sustainable from a business perspective, since at some point the production system optimization will just start delivering marginal improvements. Hence, we need explorative production innovation in parallel to accomplish sustainable development in production. There is however very little focus in production development literature on realization of innovation that could be categorized as explorative. The overall objectives of the research presented in this thesis were to advance understanding of production innovation, and to provide support for management of explorative production innovation. As a result, a conceptual framework for production innovation is proposed, which conceptualizes and describes the phenomenon, and highlights important factors for explorative production innovation management. The conceptual framework is a result of an iterative research process of incorporating findings acquired in empirical studies and from previous research, which have been reported in five appended papers. The empirical data derive from four case studies, studying production development projects where innovative solutions have been developed in four companies in different industries.

 The conceptual framework describes and distinguishes between exploitative and explorative production innovation.  The application of an increased production capability that builds upon existing knowledge to improve the production systems performance could be described as exploitative production innovation, and the application of new production capability, i.e. the capability to do new tasks by exploring and using new knowledge could be described as explorative production innovation. The thesis also highlights aspects of innovation management related to the distinct characteristics of explorative production innovation that often may be perceived as challenging, i.e. the systemic nature, intangible outcomes, need for dynamic capability, and lack of process support. Based on this, four factors that have been identified as important in managing explorative production innovation are highlighted: (1) Making production innovation a strategic matter, (2) Assessing unfamiliarity in production innovation, (3) Adapting the production innovation process, and (4) Implementing a systemic change.

The conceptual framework presented in this thesis provides a conceptualization of production innovation, and thereby a theoretical framing of an underexplored phenomenon. The findings also begin to frame production innovation management as a management discipline, where the conceptual framework and the identified key factors for explorative production innovation is an initial step to interpret, adapt and apply relevant theoretical knowledge from the innovation management field in a production context. The understanding provided by the conceptual framework may be valuable for companies seeking to complement existing production development efforts (e.g. continuous improvement and production optimization) with explorative production innovation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2020
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keywords
production innovation, production development, conceptual framework
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Product Innovation
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-77589 (URN)978-91-7790-526-4 (ISBN)978-91-7790-527-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-03-26, E632, Luleå, 12:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-01-31 Created: 2020-01-31 Last updated: 2020-03-31Bibliographically approved

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