Harnessing New Product Development Processes through Strategic Thinking Initiatives

Harnessing New Product Development Processes through Strategic Thinking Initiatives

S. Asiya Z. Kazmi (Department of Production, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland), Marja Naarananoja (Department of Production, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland) and Juha Kytola (Ship Power, Fleets Corner, Wärtsilä, Poole, United Kingdom)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/ijsds.2015070103
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This paper evaluates the role of strategic thinking to support multinational organization's new product development initiatives. Furthermore, it emphases how organizational commitment to empower its work team's leadership capability can be highlighted in the form of weak areas through specialized survey. The research outcomes highlighted the gaps in the subject organization's NPD initiatives through drawing attention to the grey areas present in the overall corporate strategic leadership environment of its three targeted work locations (i.e. Finland, the UK, and -Norway). Such areas include the potential of the company's internal communication system, data collection and record keeping capability, management's approach to the potential of new idea generation and employees' empowerment. The referred areas are directly linked to the subject company's new product development strategy, corporate initiatives and operational growth.
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All corporations have strategy, embedded in their working, whether they know it or not (Zeleny 2010). The quest for new ideas to create exceptional products originates with a deeper level of understanding about customer’s desires. In addition, the traditional NPD model, in which companies are exclusively responsible for coming up with new product ideas and for deciding which products should ultimately be marketed, is increasingly being challenged by innovation management academics and practitioners (Fuchs and Schreier, 2011; Cone, 2006; Lakhani, 2006; Pitt et al., 1996; Chesbrough, 2003; Von Hippel and Katz, 2002;). It is desired that a new product or service must hold a “wow” factor or ‘aha moment’ (Dorst, and Cross 2001) by offering something that is missing from the range of products already available in the market. However, conceiving such a new product idea seems beyond the reach of most of the companies today.

The above requires that the entire new product development team—technical, marketing, and organization’s operational teams to tactfully collaborate, design and lead a new product development strategic plan internally while additionally interacting with the real customers/users, and learn their desires, problem areas, needs, and challenges as well. The referred strategy is much different from an act of merely depending on the sales and marketing teams to obtain market demands and requirements; what is often criticised for being filtered, biased, and incorrect (Cooper, 1994). This results in connecting the industry with its customers by making them their integral part in the entire NPD process; scoping, product definition, development, validation, and beyond. Though, failure to establish the foundations of knowledge transfers from various organizational resources such as people, technologies and processes, leaves firms struggling with an overabundance of data and a paucity of knowledge (Acar, Burns, Datta, 2014).

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