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What's a good idea?: understanding evalaution and selection of new product ideas
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Integrated Product Development.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Integrated Product Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8790-3859
Mälardalen University.
2009 (English)In: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED'09), Vol. 3, 2009, 121-132 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates how ideas for new products are evaluated and selected in industrial companies. It is based on an empirical and explorative study in three companies, using qualitative interviews. The findings indicate that a good idea is the result of a process in which at the same time the idea is generated, evaluated and selected. This process determines which ideas are further developed, which of them reach a formal decision-making forum and, to some extent, the decisions made in these official forums. This process is characterized by a social and a cognitive aspect, overlooked in normative literature. The social aspect is about interaction between people that makes possible to combine formal and informal processes, and rational and non-rational approaches for developing and evaluating ideas with different grades of ambiguity and uncertainty. The cognitive aspect refers to how ideas and company's context are interpreted, in individual and collective levels, for making evaluations on ideas. Implications of these findings for designing supporting methods for evaluation and selection of ideas are discussed; and general descriptions of a practical method suggested.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. 121-132 p.
Keyword [en]
Product development, project selection, idea evalaution, decision making, cognition, innovation, project portfolio management
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-77939ISI: 000302734700011ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84859261667ISBN: 978-1-904670-07-0OAI: diva2:492200
17th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 09; Palo Alto, CA; United States; 24 August 2009 through 27 August 2009

QC 20120214

Available from: 2012-02-14 Created: 2012-02-07 Last updated: 2014-09-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Evaluation and selection of ideas and projects in product development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluation and selection of ideas and projects in product development
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Product development has become an important competitive factor for most companies. A central task is to select which projects, often from a large number of project proposals, are to be developed in order to achieve strategic objectives without exceeding available resources. Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the research discipline which focuses on the decision-making processes used to evaluate, select and prioritise projects. Previous research has stated that companies must be able to select and commit resources to different types of ideas and projects. However, it is widely believed that PPM literature has not sufficiently investigated the challenges that companies might face when putting into practice different decision-making approaches to select different types of ideas and projects.

This thesis aims to explore how different types of ideas and projects are evaluated and selected in the context of the development of complex technological products. It is based on a qualitative research approach and interviews and observations have been carried out with the cooperation of six companies.

The findings of this thesis reveal that because different decision-making approaches encounter different levels of acceptance within an organisation, the dynamics by which an idea evolves are affected by the way in which decision makers deal with the legitimacy of the decision-making approaches that they put into practice. Decision makers use some mechanisms that allow them to avoid drawing exclusively on the highly accepted approaches when they are not considered to be suitable, and to give legitimacy to the decisions that have been made by the less accepted approaches. In addition, the way in which decision makers experience a decision situation influences how it is approached. If they experience ambiguity, they might display a decision-making logic in which actions are allowed to be taken within self-organised social interactions, in order to make sense of the idea, project or criteria. However, the occurrence of self-organised interactions is conditioned by how decision makers negotiate resources with stakeholders that display different interests and decision-making logics.

These findings question the objective view that assumes that ideas and projects are already defined at the moment the decision is made and are able to be classified in pre-defined categories. It also led to the question of whether problems in fulfilling resource allocation plans and the risk of biases in decision making are problems that arise due to poor decision-making practices, and whether they should, instead, be understood as probable consequences of a flexible process.

Finally, this thesis explores a way of enhancing decision makers’ abilities through scenarios in which decision makers experience decision situations and reflect on their own ways of making decisions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. 85 p.
Trita-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2012:15
decision making, product development, project evalaution, project portfolio management, project selection
National Category
Mechanical Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-102388 (URN)978-91-7501-453-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-09-28, Sal Gladan, Brinellvägen 85, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

QC 20120918

Available from: 2012-09-18 Created: 2012-09-14 Last updated: 2012-09-18Bibliographically approved

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