Front end innovation (FEI) represents the first building blocks of product development, but is often regarded as a weak link in innovation literature. Various theorists emphasize that a firm’s innovation can benefit substantially by improving the front end of innovation process (Reinertsen, 1999, Steven & Burly, 2003, and Vernorn et al., 2008) and that innovation strategies play a central role in optimization of innovation (Clark & Wheelwright, 1995; Cottam et al., 2001; Morgan & Berthon, 2008). Innovation strategies are suggested in literature (e.g. Page, 1993; Oke, 2002; Adams et al., 2006; Igartua, 2010) as a facilitator of innovation and may therefore also be targeted at FEI support. The pharmaceutical industry has experienced a worldwide decline in the number of applications for new molecular entities to regulatory agencies since 1997. Therefore high pressures are put on pharmaceutical research and FEI to produce more valid candidates and faster for drug development. This paper explores how pharmaceutical front end innovation can be actively supported through the development and implementation of an innovation strategy. The empirical field and applied methodology is an action-oriented longitudinal case study of a Danish pharmaceutical company. The findings and key learnings from the study are presented as propositions of how innovation strategies can be applied to actively facilitate FEI and with measurable results.
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 2012, Vol 25, Issue 6, p. 457-477