A Case Study of Idea Work in the Early Phases of Product Development

Liv Gish, Christian Clausen, Claus Thorp Hansen

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    Focus in this paper is on the early innovation activities, in particular idea work. Based on a case study from industrial practice on the development of a new circulator (the Alpha Pro circulator) we aim at getting a better understanding of the work with ideas in the early phases of product development. Based on our case we will point out four central findings: 1) Early idea work is a complex process and interlinked with many other activities both inside and outside the organization. 2) Ideas evolve,combine and change over time. 3) Idea work involves a wide range of actors. 4) Carrying ideas through demands continuous mobilization of support among a range of actors. We suggest that the actors involved in idea work and their interaction such as negotiating different understandings of what constitutes a qualified idea as well as the continuous mobilization of support to their ideas among a range of actors should be key elements when we want to understand early idea work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED09)
    EditorsM. Norell Bregendahl, M. Grimheden, L. Leifer, P. Skogstad, J. Clarkson
    VolumeVolume 1
    PublisherDesign Society
    Publication date2009
    ISBN (Print)9781904670056
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    Event17th International Conference on Engineering Design - Stanford, United States
    Duration: 24 Aug 200927 Aug 2009
    Conference number: 17


    Conference17th International Conference on Engineering Design
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Internet address


    • front-end innovation
    • political process
    • interaction
    • Idea work
    • case study


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