The value of design strategies for new product development: Some econometric evidence
Investments in design play a potentially significant role in new product development (NPD) although there is little unanimity on the most appropriate or effective design strategy. Previous case-study based studies have identified three alternative design strategies for NPD: design used as a functional specialism, design used as part of a multi-functional team and designer-led NPD. Using data on a large sample (c. 1300) of Irish manufacturing plants we are able to examine the effectiveness of each of these three design strategies for NPD novelty and success. Our analysis suggests that design is closely associated with success in NPD performance regardless of the type of strategy pursued. Adopting designer-led NPD, however, results in a much greater design effect on NPD performance than more functionally-oriented strategies. The impacts of design on NPD outcomes are also strongly moderated by other plant characteristics. For example, the beneficial effects of design on NPD outputs are only evident for plants which also engage in R&D. Also, while both small and larger plants do gain from using design as a functional specialism and as part of multi-functional teams, the additional benefits of design-leadership in the NPD process are only evident in larger plants.
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