A Case Study of Idea Work in the Early Phases of Product Development

DS 58-1: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 1, Design Processes, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Gish, Liv; Clausen, Christian; Hansen, Claus Thorp
Section: Design Processes
Page(s): 447-458


Focus in this paper is on the early innovation activities, in particular idea work. Based on a case study from industrial practice on the development of a new circulator (the Alpha Pro circulator) we aim at getting a better understanding of the work with ideas in the early phases of product development. Based on our case we will point out four central findings: 1) Early idea work is a complex process and interlinked with many other activities both inside and outside the organization. 2) Ideas evolve, combine and change over time. 3) Idea work involves a wide range of actors. 4) Carrying ideas through demands continuous mobilization of support among a range of actors. We suggest that the actors involved in idea work and their interaction such as negotiating different understandings of what constitutes a qualified idea as well as the continuous mobilization of support to their ideas among a range of actors should be key elements when we want to understand early idea work.

Keywords: Idea work, front-end innovation, interaction, political process, case study


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