Teknillinen tiedekunta, 2017
Master's Degree Programme in Industrial Management
The subject of the thesis is the first phase of innovation process called the front end of innovation. The front end of innovation is the preliminary research and design phase of innovative concepts before the detailed development phase of a product. The goal of the thesis was to design a conceptual model for efficient idea generation and concept development.
The front end of innovation in the industry is commonly seen as a fuzzy construct that is difficult to understand and manage. Especially issues with innovative creativity are often treated with vague notions of inexplicable individual talent. The academic literature related to an ideal front end-phase is fragmentary and ambiguous. Front end of innovation considers profoundly various fields of research, which complicates the understanding of general view. Therefore, this research has been conducted as a constructive research, which pursues to solve a specific problem by combining theoretical and practical knowledge from various sources.
The designed solution is a managerial construction, so called conceptual model, to operate efficiently in the front end of innovation by generating ideas and developing concepts that deliver value for the end customer. The designed model establishes itself on the method of problem solving, where a problem is the target of analysis. The problem is deconstructed into a web of subproblems, which are pursued to be solved by seeking existing solutions from sources in surroundings. The process is iterative and non-sequential. Three workshops were conducted to demonstrate the use of the model in small scale and a questionnaire was produced to measure the experiences of the participants. The results indicate that the organization applying the model shall possess a strong innovative culture, where senior management establishes the norms for communication and consensus building. The model is applied in a cross-functional and interdisciplinary manner that favors non-hierarchical and playful atmosphere. In the course of time, the innovation strategy, and its ability to cope with the uncertainty in the front end of innovation, will define the success of the business.
Front End of Innovation, radical innovation, problem solving, creativity, innovative strategy