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Team activities in concept development: Addressing open-ended problems
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Computer Science.
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The concept development stage is a fundamental part of the development process; in this early stage, teams define what constitutes the problem and find direction for the subsequent problem-solving activities. Concept development that searches for innovative results starts from a problem formulation, or design brief, that should not be too precise; keeping parts open for interpretation and alternatives is important for allowing for the possibility to create new solutions. However, handling such open-ended development problems is a challenge as they do not point to a specific solution from the start. The difficulties that the development team encounters in order to find a way forward are the focus of this thesis. Thus, the purpose of this thesis is to identify, describe and discuss how teams explore and define open-ended problems in concept development. Fundamentally, teams have to explore and define open-ended problems in order to retrieve answers needed to undertake purposeful actions. The exploration and definition procedure creates stepwise understanding of sub-problems as open-ended problems typically have interdependencies. This implies that the team must suggest a number of representations before they can propose corresponding alternative solutions. The failure to adopt such a procedure leads to a risk of fixation and prematurely closing the definition of what constitutes the core issues of the design problem. This study specifically shows that confronting the design brief or task is an essential activity in the resolution of open-ended problems. Moreover, a number of practical steps for iteratively managing open-ended problem resolution are proposed. The study in this thesis is based on an explorative approach utilising experiments and observations as methods for data collection. The empirical data come from a workshop format (i.e., an innovation contest), teams on student projects and, to some extent, companies. The contribution from this thesis to engineering design relates mainly to the social and participatory aspects of innovation in concept development. The contribution to practice is mainly the formulation of iterative steps; these could be applicable to different types of open-ended problem resolution. One additional area of application may be a more modern type of product development in the manufacturing industry — namely, where product logics and service logics are interlinked.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå tekniska universitet, 2016.
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Research subject
Information systems; Effective innovation and organisation (AERI); Enabling ICT (AERI); Intelligent industrial processes (AERI)
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-18071Local ID: 6ae3395e-28bf-4f54-95ac-533535c17a61ISBN: 978-91-7583-515-0 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7583-516-7 (electronic)OAI: diva2:991077
Godkänd; 2016; 20160121 (johwen); Nedanstående person kommer att disputera för avläggande av teknologie doktorsexamen. Namn: Johan Wenngren Ämne: Produktinnovation/Product Innovation Avhandling: Team Activities in Concept Development -Addressing open-ended problems Opponent: Professor Pasi Tyrväinen, Department of CS&IS, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. Ordförande: Docent Åsa Ericson, Avd för datavetenskap, Institutionen för system och rymdteknik, Luleå tekniska universitet, Luleå. Tid: Torsdag 25 februari, 2016 kl 13.00 Plats: E632, Luleå tekniska universitetAvailable from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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