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The delicate coexistence of standardized work routines and innovation
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Integrated Product Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0592-4002
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Integrated Product Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6024-7908
2012 (English)In: Proceedings of the 19th International Product Development Management Conference, 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Since the emergence of Scientific Management a century ago, standardization of routine tasks has been held forward as an important means to reach high efficiency in many types of operations, with its main advances in manufacturing. Research and Development (R&D), normally of a less repetitive nature than manufacturing, has yet to discover the full potential of standardization, and there are many pitfalls along the way to avoid. With innovation being a fundamental goal of the R&D operations, careful consideration not to harm creative ability and innovation capacity needs to be taken. The results from this study shows that work routines can exist side by side with ideation and autonomy, and even increase the organization’s ability to generate ideas and act on those ideas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Routinization, work routines, creativity, R&D, product development
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-105531OAI: diva2:571367
19th International Product Development Management Conference, IPDMC, UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER, U.K., JUNE 17-19, 2012

QC 20121127

Available from: 2012-11-27 Created: 2012-11-22 Last updated: 2012-11-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Process management in R&D - Doom or Salvation for Creativity?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Process management in R&D - Doom or Salvation for Creativity?
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

R&D organizations of today must constantly seek ways to becomemore efficient in order to stay competitive. To accomplish thismany organizations turn to process management approaches suchas lean product development. But how does the use of processmanagement influence the creativity of the people in theorganization? How will they manage both the creative search andexploration of future opportunities and the efficient exploitation ofcurrent offerings simultaneously? Previous research has shown thatcompanies often fail in this quest and that exploration is at risk ofbeing neglected in favour of exploitation where the feedback andreturn on invested work are more immediate.This thesis sets out to study how the combination of exploration interms of creativity, and exploitation in terms of processmanagement, plays out at Scania, a developer and manufacturer ofheavy trucks. The research builds on data collected by means of aquestionnaire study where a large part of the R&D organizationparticipated. The results reveal surprisingly positive relationshipsbetween process management and creativity. Firstly, the existenceof clear routines showed a positive relationship with several aspectsof ideation. The results, however, stress the importance of havingdynamic routines where the organization is open to changing theexisting routines when needed. Secondly, strong demands ondelivery precision was positively related to the creation of novelideas in the industrialization process. Thirdly, the use of continuousimprovement efforts was positively related to aspects of creativity.These results indicate that routinization can benefit creativity andthat mangers should encourage the mapping and continuousimprovement of routines. Furthermore, goals for innovationinfluence how much time is spent on exploratory activities.Managers with innovation aspirations should therefore make clearto the organization that innovation is an important part of theoperations. Finally, managers and employees should formulatespecific product innovation goals and demand high deliveryprecision also for deliverables of exploratory nature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. viii, 69 p.
Trita-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2012:20
creativity, efficiency, process management, R&D
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-106225 (URN)978-91-7501-576-7 (ISBN)
2012-12-07, Innovationsstudion/Gladan, Brinellvägen 83, KTH, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)

QC 20121130

Available from: 2012-11-30 Created: 2012-11-30 Last updated: 2012-11-30Bibliographically approved

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