Beta 1

Title Idéen i idé-arbejde
Author Juhl, Joakim
Rosenqvist, Tanja
Supervisor Clausen, Christian (Innovation og Bæredygtighed, Institut for Planlægning, Innovation og Ledelse, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, DTU, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark)
Institution Technical University of Denmark, DTU, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
Thesis level Master's thesis
Year 2009
Abstract In this master thesis we have studied how idea work unfolds in early product development. We have done this by examining the idea work in a company called Alfa Laval that is specialized in developing separation solutions for industrial companies. Furthermore, we have developed a series of recommendations on how idea work can be staged to make it of high quality. In addition, we have developed a number of tools, which Alfa Laval can use to improve their idea work. By examining the early product development through the term of idea work, we wish to bring focus to the product developers’ practical work with ideas in the early product development. The point of departure for this thesis was a realization that Alfa Laval had problems doing radical innovation. We therefore decided to explore their innovation process to gain insight in how to harness the company’s innovation potential. This decision triggered an examination of the existing innovation literature. Through this examination we noticed an amount of literature about the early innovation process called the Fuzzy Front End (FFE). We found this part of the innovation process interesting because it seemed to be a place for improvement of the overall innovation process. We therefore conducted a review of some of the exsisting FFE litterataur to gain further insight in this. We found, that the FFE literature seems to be focused on organizational perspectives of innovation and FFE management. We thereby found it to be lacking a focus on the people that actually creates innovations e.g. product developers. We therefore saw a potential of improving the FFE literature by obtaining insight into this practical dimension of innovation. Therefore we decided to investigate the work of the product developers at Alfa Laval with the focus on idea work. As a foundation for our study of the idea work, we used empirical data obtained through interviews with primarily product developers. Through this we analyzed the idea work at Alfa Laval from three perspectives; an individual perspective, a social perspective and a process perspective. Within each perspective, we found interesting aspects of the idea-work, which led us to a comprehensive understanding of how idea work unfolds as a whole. We hereby found that idea-work unfolds as a social and individual process where the idea continuously is being framed and reframed by the individuals who engage in the idea work. The social processes take place through the intersection of object worlds. This intersection is made possible through the use boundary objects that can transforma the individuals’ knowledge. These boundary objects are created through the individual processes. The goal of the idea work is to make the idea interesting to as many object worlds as possible. Hereby the idea can gain support, at first internally and later externally whereby innovative success ca be achieved. We also found, that idea work is influenced by the context it occurs in. This context consists of both organizational and market conditions. The context influences the idea work indirectly because the individuals that engage in the idea work make sense of the context and enact in the idea work according to this. Thus the context affects the idea work through the individuals engaging in it. To simplify the understanding we have gained of idea work, we have developed the Idea- Framing model. This model should be understood as our contribution to the existing FFE literature. We believe the Idea-Framing Model to be an important contribution to the literature because it presents an understanding of how the work with ideas is actually performed, which does not seem to be of focus in the FFE. In addition to the model, we have developed a number of recommendations on how idea work can be staged to improve its quality. We have therefore made general recommendations but also specific recommendations for Alfa Laval. We have also developed a number of tools that can assist Alfa Laval in the staging process. These tools consist of two groups, communication tools and innovation tools. The communication tools should be used to communicate our understanding of idea work to the employees at Alfa Laval and the innovation tools should be used when performing idea work. This means, that the communication tools develop a shared syntax for the employees to be able to communicate about idea work and thus deliberately stage it. The innovation tools are designed to be used in meetings between individuals and thus in the staging of each meeting to take advantage of the potential that exists between the different object worlds. All tools are built as boundary objects that can transform knowledge when used. It is our hope that the recommendation and tools can help Alfa Laval to harness their innovation potential through deliberate staging of idea work.
Imprint Technical University of Denmark (DTU) : Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
Pages 185
Original PDF Final_report.pdf (8.39 MB)
Admin Creation date: 2010-01-14    Update date: 2010-02-01    Source: dtu    ID: 256354    Original MXD