How to Prepare Students for the Real Front-End of Innovation Challenges: A Methodological Perspective

DS 74: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education (E&PDE12) Design Education for Future Wellbeing, Antwerp, Belguim, 06-07.9.2012

Year: 2012
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Jacoby, Alexis; Scheelen, Linda
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Artesis University College Antwerp, Belgium
Section: Design Methods - Methodical Innovation
Page(s): 173-178
ISBN: 978-1-904670-36-0


The new product development (NPD) phase is preceded by the process where new products are defined prior to development. This is often referred to as the Front-end of Innovation (FEI).
Unlike the NPD phase, the FEI is more dependent on a specific industry’s context. In fact, defining new products holds a major strategic component by which a specific context is required that gives guidance to the definition of new products and services. This paper is based on both a qualitative and quantitative research that focuses on firm performance in the FEI, in order to gain insights in the way FEI is impacted by strategic management, and the way product development aligns with product strategy. These key issues have been studied from the perspective of product development methodology with the intent to provide recommendations for an approach in the FEI, both in education and industry. The research points at the need for methods in the very early stages of the FEI where search fields or opportunities have to be defined prior to idea generation. Generating search fields and detecting opportunities can be considered dedicated creative activities that follow the logic of divergent and convergent thinking.

Keywords: Front-end of innovation, methodology, innovation management


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