A ‘Diagnosis Tool’ for Innovation Created and Tested with the Aid of Design Students
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Arthur Eger, Ferry Vermeulen
Institution: University of Twente, The Netherlands
Section: Design Education and Industry
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are generally considered as an important vehicle for new product development and innovation. However, SMEs inherently experience specific problems in their innovation processes, such as pursuing strategies that build the operational capabilities, which negatively influence their average innovative performance. Innovations from SMEs seem to be limited by the ‘gap’ between the generation of knowledge and the implementation of it: the so called innovation paradox. To increase the chance of success of an innovation generated by an SME, it would be best to choose step by step strategies. With the help of the theory of product phases it is possible to make overall predictions for the evolutionary development of a product after its market introduction and formulate low risk strategies. This theory was transformed into a ‘diagnosis tool’ which offers fresh starting points for innovation strategies by SMEs. The tool (a computer program) consists of a questionnaire that is used to analyse the present situation of a company and to give possible strategies for future development of the product. The tool has been developed in cooperation with several companies. The tool was tested by students participating in the course Evolutionary Product Development at the University of Twente.