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A Conceptual Framework for Production Innovation
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Humans and technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2090-0423
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 [en]
production innovation, production development, conceptual framework
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Product Innovation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-77589ISBN: 978-91-7790-526-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7790-527-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-77589DiVA, id: diva2:1390066
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
List of papers
1. A Framework for Production Innovation: Expanding and Creating New Production Capabilities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Framework for Production Innovation: Expanding and Creating New Production Capabilities
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-77507 (URN)
Available from: 2020-01-31 Created: 2020-01-31 Last updated: 2020-01-31
2. Sustainable Development in Project-Based Industries: Supporting the Realization of Explorative Innovation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainable Development in Project-Based Industries: Supporting the Realization of Explorative Innovation
2018 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 10, no 3, article id 683Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Both exploitative and explorative innovations are needed for sustainable developmentin any industry, but balancing the two types is a delicate matter, and exploitation tends to bestrongly prioritized in many industries. This is typically evident in project-based industries (PBIs), which are characterized by a fragmented supply chain and the delivery of one-off solutions in business projects. Realizing explorative innovations in this context is complex due to the need to transfer new knowledge between the organization developing the innovations and actors in inter-organizational business projects. The aim of this paper is to highlight areas in the management of explorative innovations developed outside business projects, to increase the understanding of where the specific market setting of PBIs might necessitate an adapted approach for successful realization. A case study of three innovation projects in organizations operating in PBIs have been conducted. The findings confirm that the major challenges lie in the transition between development project and business project. We highlight three aspects linked to this transition that require a flexible management approach: the assignation and acceptance of suitable responsibilities and roles, flexible support for the innovation process, and system acceptance. The findings may provide guidance for actors in PBIs strategically seeking to promote sustainable development, and provide foundations for further research to develop support for explorative innovation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2018
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified Construction Management
Research subject
Product Innovation; Construction Management and Building Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-67814 (URN)10.3390/su10030683 (DOI)000428567100110 ()2-s2.0-85042789771 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2018;Nivå 2;2018-03-06 (andbra)

Available from: 2018-03-06 Created: 2018-03-06 Last updated: 2020-01-31Bibliographically approved
3. Overcoming innovation inertia in production processes: Managing the innovation process
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Overcoming innovation inertia in production processes: Managing the innovation process
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Product Innovation
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-35108 (URN)982e194e-f8fc-408d-932d-c01d77014037 (Local ID)982e194e-f8fc-408d-932d-c01d77014037 (Archive number)982e194e-f8fc-408d-932d-c01d77014037 (OAI)
Conference
Innovation and Product Development Management Conference, : 12/06/2016 - 14/06/2016
Projects
Production Innovation
Note

För godkännande; 2016; 20160823 (lislar)

Available from: 2016-09-30 Created: 2016-09-30 Last updated: 2020-01-31Bibliographically approved
4. Product-Service System Innovation Capabilities: Linkages between the Fuzzy Front End and subsequent development phases
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Product-Service System Innovation Capabilities: Linkages between the Fuzzy Front End and subsequent development phases
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
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Product Innovation
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-63019 (URN)10.1080/00207543.2017.1365181 (DOI)000433967100009 ()
Note

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

Available from: 2017-04-12 Created: 2017-04-12 Last updated: 2020-01-31Bibliographically approved
5. Adoption and implementation of systemic innovation in production
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adoption and implementation of systemic innovation in production
2019 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Product Innovation
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-77346 (URN)
Conference
26th Innovation and Product Development Management Conference (IPDMC)
Available from: 2020-01-10 Created: 2020-01-10 Last updated: 2020-04-28

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