راهبردهای یادگیری بخش جلویی فازی: اکتشاف یک شرکت با فناوری پیشرفته
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|20199||2014||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9400 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Available online 23 January 2014
This article investigates the upstream and usually hidden stages of new product/service development projects and aims to provide a set of learning actions that contribute to the reduction in fuzziness during early development stages. Because the fuzzy front end involves high levels of uncertainty, this article first analyzes the dimensions of fuzziness and then describes two in-depth case studies. The rich and contrasted insights into one success and one failure of a high-tech company identify how managers can use learning strategies to reduce fuzziness. Qualitative investigations based on interviews with managers and team members responsible for development projects reveal how the choice of specific learning strategies can address one or all three dimensions of fuzziness. By contrasting successes and failures, the study reveals how specific learning strategies can lead to an efficient reduction in fuzziness during the early stages of development. We identified broad sets of actions, including competencies recruitment, use of guiding visions, use of personal networks to find appropriate solutions, and processes that help connect client expectations with firm solutions. The detailed description of adopted means outlines how managers can succeed in the early stages of development by mastering organizational learning tools.
Early research identified the fuzzy front end (FFE) stages of product/service development as crucial for successful innovation (Cooper and Kleinschmidt, 1994). Choices made during this stage are of paramount importance because they condition the subsequent stages of development. However, these choices and the decisions based on them have the highest level of fuzziness. Because the decisions taken during the early stages are more economical than those taken in the latter stages of development, any improvements made during the FFE are likely to be more efficient (Shen-Li et al., 2007, Poskela and Martinsuo, 2009 and Verworn, 2009), especially when more formal management modes are adopted (Ho and Tsai, 2011, Creusen et al., 2013 and Markham and Lee, 2013). FFE usually involves specific stages of the development process and lies in the so-called pre-phase zero (preliminary opportunity identification, market and technology analysis) of a phase zero (product and concept definition) and phase one (product definition and planning) (Khurana and Rosenthal, 1997). The FFE stage ends when a go/no-go decision is taken, based on the available information that, in turn, results in the launching of a formal new product development process with well-defined specifications for prototype, manufacturing, and market launch. During the FFE stage, fuzziness is at its maximum and is linked to customer preference, environment, competitor actions and reactions, technological solutions, and managerial support for new ideas. Given this context, rational decisions are difficult because consequences of the choices made are impossible to anticipate (Lane and Maxfield, 2005). From this perspective, the development involves a process of uncertainty reduction, from maximum uncertainty at the beginning stage to a minimum level after launch (Shil, 2009). Logically, therefore, the reduction of fuzziness is one of the key concerns during the FFE stage. In this work, we examine three sources of fuzziness during the FFE stage that prior research has identified: uncertainty, equivocality, and complexity (Zack, 2001). In this analysis, we assume that specific learning strategies must be designed, which may further contribute to efficiently reduce fuzziness in the early stage of development. We empirically investigate this assumption through a qualitative survey. Thus, we conducted an in-depth case study to identify the learning strategies adopted by development teams of a high-tech company. Comparisons between successful and failed developments led us to identify the nature, contribution, and efficiency of learning strategies adopted to reduce fuzziness. We further identified broad sets of actions, including competencies recruitment, use of guiding visions, use of personal networks to find appropriate solutions, and the processes that helped connect client expectations with firm solutions. The detailed description of adopted means outlines how managers can succeed in the early stages of development by mastering organizational learning tools. We use the empirical observations to enrich the initial and theoretical conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Research focused on the FFE of new product/service development projects is scarce. Therefore, this research aimed to shed light on the course of development, including the main stages and the strategies managers use to overcome fuzziness. Moreover, the learning perspective adopted here captures the essence of the development process and explains the stages and actions led by managers. However, because of the qualitative nature of methodologies adopted, the conclusions should be considered as a basis for quantitative validation. Three main observations, related to learning strategies, are proposed for further research. First, the transformation of the FFE to formal projects results from the coverage of different sources and overcoming uncertainties. When fuzziness is reduced on all dimensions, enough information is gathered from the different sources to support a positive go/no-go decision from management. Conversely, when information related to either sources or nature of innovation is missing, perceived risk is greater, and managers will likely reject the project or delay the formal decision. Second, the limited level of resources available during the FFE makes personal networks important because they provide informal access to resources and expertise. Solving questions and problems arising during this period, under the constraint of a limited budget because of high fuzziness, depends on the capacity of the person responsible for the project to identify required competencies and use personal networks throughout the organization. Third, organizational factors such as organizational slack or flexibility likely contribute to the transformation of the FFE into formal projects through their effect on learning processes. For example, organizational slack provides opportunities for people to exchange informally, facilitating their contribution to the reduction of fuzziness. The adoption of a learning perspective on the FFE of innovation sheds more light on the course of a development project. Although the ability to predict success at this stage is low, a better understanding of how to reduce fuzziness should facilitate the design of more structured action plans.