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"Fuzzy front end" practices in innovating Japanese companies

Author

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  • Herstatt, Cornelius
  • Verworn, Birgit
  • Stockstrom, Christoph
  • Nagahira, Akio
  • Takahashi, Osamu

Abstract

In this paper, we report on the results of a large-scale study about typical front-end-related innovation practices in 553 Japanese mechanical and electrical engineering companies. We explore typical activities concerning the generation and assessment of new product ideas, the reduction of technological as well as market uncertainty and front end planning. Finally, we report on differences between successful and unsuccessful companies. Our study confirms earlier findings about the frequent use of creativity techniques in Japan during the process of idea generation. We also find companies to intensively involve upper management and customers into NPD projects. While integrating upper management is of vital importance for assessing new product ideas, integrating customers and users is primarily used to developing product ideas and concepts. We further find evidence that successful companies integrate their customers more frequently in the process of developing and assessing new product ideas than non successful companies. In addition, the former integrate customer requirements into their product definitions more often and also translate these requirements into technical specifications more frequently than non-successful companies. Finally, successful companies more often systematically plan a project prior to its start than unsuccessful ones.

Suggested Citation

  • Herstatt, Cornelius & Verworn, Birgit & Stockstrom, Christoph & Nagahira, Akio & Takahashi, Osamu, 2004. ""Fuzzy front end" practices in innovating Japanese companies," Working Papers 25, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute for Technology and Innovation Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuhtim:25
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Howells, Jeremy, 2006. "Intermediation and the role of intermediaries in innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 715-728, June.
    2. Alfonso Gambardella, 2002. "'Successes' and 'Failures' in the Markets for Technology," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 52-62, Spring.
    3. Dirk Czarnitzki & Georg Licht & Christian Rammer & Alfred Spielkamp, 2001. "Rolle und Bedeutung von Intermediären in Wissens- und Technologietransfer," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 54(04), pages 40-49, October.
    4. Bessant, John & Rush, Howard, 1995. "Building bridges for innovation: the role of consultants in technology transfer," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 97-114, January.
    5. Eichberger, Jurgen & Harper, Ian R., 1997. "Financial Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198775409.
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