Innovation and innovation processes has traditionally been considered from the manufacturing companies' perspective. The innovation process is typically divided into a series of succeeding stages where the Fuzzy Front-End is the first stage to encounter. Several research projects have formulated recommendations for the manufacturer to improve the innovation process and enhance the chances of success. However, the waist majority of these projects belong to an intra-organizational paradigm where the manufacturer is considered to be the only part involved in the process, controlling and influencing the environment (Cooper 2005;Cooper & Kleinschmidt 1987;Tidd, Bessant, & Pavitt 2005). As a result of enhanced competition and pressure on manufacturing prices increasing focus is put on inter-firm collaboration and innovation competences. Companies can cooperate in many different activities e.g. logistics, marketing, sales. The focus of this paper is on collaboration where innovation is the main part of the collaborative effort. Innovation refers to the research and development (R&D) activity devoted to increasing scientific or technical knowledge and the application of that knowledge to the creation of new and improved products and processes. Formal innovation partnerships has been researched widely through the past 45[jhj1] years e.g. (Bart Nooteboom 2003;Faems, Van Looy, & Debackere 2005;Hagedoorn 2002;Powell, Koput, & Smith-Doerr 1996b). The research has provided useful insights in the dynamics and tendencies in formal R&D partnering relations. This paper, however, focuses on collaboration between independent companies prior to such formal agreements as joint ventures or other contractual agreements. This first phase of the innovation process is often referred to as the Fuzzy Front-End (FFE) and is traditionally seen as an intra-organizational process (Jongbae & David 2002;Kim & Wilemon 2002e;Qingyu & William 2001;Reid & de Brentani 2004a). As the innovation process becomes an interfirm-collaboration the management of the Fuzzy Front-End also changes and calls for new ways of collaboration. In this article we examine the characteristics of the FFE phase and explore this phase in an inter-firm perspective. Through an in-depth case-study of a single firm and its innovation partners we identify parameters for improved collaboration in the FFE. In conclusion we outline a model for inter-firm collaboration in the FFE phase of the innovation process. In short the objective of this paper is to elaborate on the differentiating characteristics between intra-firm and inter-firm FFE projects, and furthermore to identify the relevant success parameters for inter-firm FFE projects.
Proceedings of the Viii-th International Academic Conference«economic Modernization and Social Development, April 3-5, 2007 - Hse, Moscow, 2007
Main Research Area:
The VIII-th International Academic Conference«Economic Modernization and Social Development, April 3-5, 2007 - HSE, Moscow