Decision making strategies utilised by designers in the innovation of new products.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This thesis aimed to develop a better understanding of how small companies go about New Product Development (NPD), specifically how they arrived at success critical NPD decisions, who made them and what information they relied on to support those decisions. In order to achieve this, a practical model of new product development (NPD) from the perspective of the designer was devised. The proposed model was in contrast to the majority of previous models that have tended to concentrate more on the management of the NPD function in larger organisations with dedicated NPD departments. The proposed model is therefore better suited to the practice encountered in small companies where staff have multiple roles and responsibilities. The proposed model has been applied to the analysis of three case studies of NPD activity in a particular small company. These case studies were used to identify, define and categorise decision-making and identify the individuals undertaking and responsible for innovation and invention. After identifying how these individuals make and facilitate success-critical decisions within the case studies an analysis of the product and its development was carried out to identify whether there was any correlation between product success and the use of well-supported, structured decision-making. The case studies were carried out using an ethnographic methodology with the researcher being immersed in the NPD function and the company. Given the personal, verbal and frequently unrecorded nature of much of the NPD practice in small companies this approach yielded levels of access and detailed observations that no other methodology could have achieved. Based on the results of the case studies and their subsequent analysis recommendations for best practice in critical decision-making are proposed.
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