Technology development and product development in the front-end of innovation: a review
Faculty of Applied Economics
Antwerp :Academic Conferences International, 2009
Proceedings of the 4th European Conference on Entrepreneurship and innovation (ECEI), Antwerp, Belgium, 10-11 September 2009
University of Antwerp
In an industrial innovation context, practitioners often don't make a difference between technology development and product development. Both kind of activities are essential to innovation and they are organised in an integrated approach. New technology is often mentioned as one of the parameters that are important to define the innovation level of a new project. From a methodological point of view, however, there is a major difference between technology development and product development. Both kind of activities need a different approach and are often performed in a different time frame. There are a lot of interdependencies, though, between them. In many cases there is no product development without technology development and technological research, except for fundamental research, often needs to be applied into new products. Throughout the front-end of innovation, at very different stages, technology is integrated into the product development process. This integration occurs in two different directions. Either state-of-the-art-technology is integrated into a product development process. This is often referred to as technology transfer. Or, throughout a development process, the requirements for new technologies are being detected. These requirements can lead to a new technology development process with clear expected deliverables for product development. This ongoing research focuses on the way technology development interfaces with the product development process in the early stages of innovation. Through case studies within larger and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), different aspects on the interface between technology development with product development are registered and analysed, in order to optimise and improve the integration. This leads to a model where the inputs from technology development and the requests for technology search or development are indicated at specific stages in the front-end of innovation. Ultimately, this model will provide the basis for implementing the appropriate methodological tools at the right moment in the early stages of technology driven innovation.