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Creativity just in time?: The effects of delivery precision in product development
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Integrated Product Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0592-4002
2012 (English)In: Proceedings of the 13th International CINet conference, 2012Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents the results from a quantitative study of the product development environment at Scania, a Swedish manufacturer of heavy trucks and buses. The focus of the study has been on exploring the relationship between delivery precision and creativity. Given today’s increasingly competitive market, companies must be able to cut both lead time and time to market while maintaining high creativity and innovativeness in the organization. This study is an attempt to increase our understanding of how one means of cutting lead time, the imposition of high demands on delivery precision, affects the creation of novel ideas in the industrialization phase of product development. The results point to an interesting relationship in which the imposition of high demands on delivery precision actually increases the perception of the creation of novel ideas. The results also have interesting implications for project planning and the role of time dedicated to exploratory tasks in product development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
Keyword [en]
Slack, innovation, delivery precision, creativity, lean
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-105534OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-105534DiVA: diva2:571371
Conference
13th International CINet conference, 16-18 September 2012 - Rome, Italy
Note

QC 20121127

Available from: 2012-11-27 Created: 2012-11-22 Last updated: 2015-02-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Process management in R&D - Doom or Salvation for Creativity?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Process management in R&D - Doom or Salvation for Creativity?
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

R&D organizations of today must constantly seek ways to becomemore efficient in order to stay competitive. To accomplish thismany organizations turn to process management approaches suchas lean product development. But how does the use of processmanagement influence the creativity of the people in theorganization? How will they manage both the creative search andexploration of future opportunities and the efficient exploitation ofcurrent offerings simultaneously? Previous research has shown thatcompanies often fail in this quest and that exploration is at risk ofbeing neglected in favour of exploitation where the feedback andreturn on invested work are more immediate.This thesis sets out to study how the combination of exploration interms of creativity, and exploitation in terms of processmanagement, plays out at Scania, a developer and manufacturer ofheavy trucks. The research builds on data collected by means of aquestionnaire study where a large part of the R&D organizationparticipated. The results reveal surprisingly positive relationshipsbetween process management and creativity. Firstly, the existenceof clear routines showed a positive relationship with several aspectsof ideation. The results, however, stress the importance of havingdynamic routines where the organization is open to changing theexisting routines when needed. Secondly, strong demands ondelivery precision was positively related to the creation of novelideas in the industrialization process. Thirdly, the use of continuousimprovement efforts was positively related to aspects of creativity.These results indicate that routinization can benefit creativity andthat mangers should encourage the mapping and continuousimprovement of routines. Furthermore, goals for innovationinfluence how much time is spent on exploratory activities.Managers with innovation aspirations should therefore make clearto the organization that innovation is an important part of theoperations. Finally, managers and employees should formulatespecific product innovation goals and demand high deliveryprecision also for deliverables of exploratory nature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. viii, 69 p.
Series
Trita-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2012:20
Keyword
creativity, efficiency, process management, R&D
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-106225 (URN)978-91-7501-576-7 (ISBN)
Presentation
2012-12-07, Innovationsstudion/Gladan, Brinellvägen 83, KTH, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20121130

Available from: 2012-11-30 Created: 2012-11-30 Last updated: 2012-11-30Bibliographically approved
2. Innovation under pressure: Reclaiming the micro-level exploration space
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Innovation under pressure: Reclaiming the micro-level exploration space
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research & Development (R&D) departments are becoming increasingly structured and routine-based, with tight schedules and daily follow-ups. This way of working stems from increased demands for delivering products to customers quickly and with high quality at a low price. At the same time, these organisations are faced with the challenge of coming up with new ideas that can become the foundations of tomorrow’s innovations. This means that R&D departments must achieve both exploration, in terms of coming up with new ideas, and exploitation in terms of turning existing ideas into products available on the market. If these dual perspectives are to be met within a single work unit, the employees in that unit must achieve what we call contextual ambidexterity. Previous research has shown this to be difficult to achieve and has offered little guidance for organisations about how to organise and manage their operations in order to increase their chances of achieving contextual ambidexterity.The aim of this thesis is to explore challenges related to innovation that are encountered at the micro-level in contextually ambidextrous organisations and to shed light on factors that explain those challenges.This study has combined survey data with interview data from several organisations to analyse the relationship between aspects of efficiency and aspects of creativity. It was found that employees in a contextually ambidextrous organisation struggle to ensure enough micro-level exploration space, in other words, they have trouble finding time to explore ideas and making room for novel ideas.This research shows that a contextually ambidextrous approach in R&D will likely exert two main challenges related to innovation. The first challenge is a crowding out of exploratory activities in favour of exploitatory activities. One reason for this is the combination of using productivity goals for exploitation and not using any similar targets for exploration activities. Large discrepancies in how these two types of activities are treated runs the risk that the one that is less monitored – most often exploration – is likely to be crowded out in favour of the one that is more intensely monitored.A second possible challenge is the demand on predictability in project progress that is often built into organisations as a means to enhance exploitation. This aim for predictability might create a reluctance to introduce new projects with high levels of novelty because the introduction of novel ideas contains uncertainties that jeopardise the adherence to the project plan. The combination of this view of novelty in the later phases of product development and the crowding out of exploratory activities could possibly lead to insufficient room for novel ideas to gain ground in the organisation, and this could lead to less innovative output.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. vi, 101 p.
Series
TRITA-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2015:02
Keyword
Ambidexterity, exploration, exploitation, creativity, innovation, micro-level exploration space, operational level, operations, operational effectiveness, employee, lean, lean thinking, process management, streamlining, flow
National Category
Mechanical Engineering
Research subject
Machine Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-160618 (URN)978-91-7595-449-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-03-20, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20150225

Available from: 2015-02-25 Created: 2015-02-25 Last updated: 2015-02-25Bibliographically approved

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JustInTime(115 kB)160 downloads
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