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