Dynamics of internal R&D stakeholders in the Fuzzy Front-End of breakthrough engineering projects

Abstract : In competitive industries, intensive innovation is a recognized necessity (Wheelwright and Clark, 1992; Le Masson et al., 2010). One success factor of breakthrough R&D projects lies in the knowledge articulation between innovation definition phases, composed of fuzzy front-end (FFE) and innovative new product development (NPD) stages (Koen et al, 2002; Cooper et al, 2001), and industrial development processes. Then, central issue for innovation projects managers becomes internal R&D stakeholders’ management (Elias et al., 2002) and sustainable learning dynamics across the two parts of the organization (O’Connor, 2008). Our paper fits into this research gap for local breakthrough R&D in the dominant design. We discuss the role of technical expertise level of NDP stakeholders involved in early stages of innovative projects. The research mobilized two longitudinal studies (Yin, 1989) carried out with a global car manufacturer through collaborative management research (Radaelli et al., 2012) since 2005, one focusing on the FFE management, while the other was devoted to learning dynamics of engineering development departments. A cartography of the internal network of breakthrough R&D (Mitchell et al, 1997) underlined a stable organizational network across projects. Nevertheless, a quantitative analysis of accounting data on 8 projects highlights important dynamics of involvement or dis-engagement within the network. The analysis showed that the accounting reporting at the portfolio level used to hide to top-managers the heterogeneity and depth of resources dynamics at the project level. The impacts of local breakthrough R&D on the engineering development organization was similar to waves: some stakeholders, who played roles of experts, spokespersons or innovation design strategists, were able to involve quickly the individuals to maintain the project progress, sometime generating an over-commitment on innovation projects. At the opposite, a lack of trust of the design partners generated withdrawal of resources that needed a strong stakeholder management to be prevented.
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  • HAL Id : hal-01202541, version 1

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Sophie Hooge, Cédric Dalmasso. Dynamics of internal R&D stakeholders in the Fuzzy Front-End of breakthrough engineering projects. European Academy of Management - EURAM'15, Jun 2015, Varsow, Poland. ⟨hal-01202541⟩

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