Design and Evaluation of a Process Model for the Early Stages of Product Innovation

Research output: Types of ThesesDoctoral Thesis


Today’s business world is highly dynamic, competitive and hardly predictable. In the context of innovation management, this leads to shorter product lifecycles, higher degrees of uncertainty and ultimately to high failure rates in New Product Develop-ment (NPD) processes. Most often, this is due to deficiencies in effectively and effi-ciently managing the early stages of the innovation process, which are referred to as the (Fuzzy) Front End of Innovation (FEI). As substantial work has been done in relation to the later stages of the FEI (idea generation, selection and concept devel-opment), the preceding stages of opportunity identification and analysis have been neglected. Especially in terms of identifying and depicting process-related factors and activities in practitioner relevant, formal process models, little to no research has been done so far. This research identifies and analyses FEI principles, differentiates between process and non-process principles and combines process-related ones in a comprehensive, theoretically grounded and practically applicable process model. Employing a design science research approach, the artefact – the FEI process model – is designed and built together with industry partners of a current research project. Following the re-search methodology, principles at the FEI are step-by-step identified, process model design requirements are derived based on these and the formal process model spe-cifically supporting process key activities at the strategic FEI is developed. Evalua-tion of process model is done design inherent (ex-ante, focus group study) and final outcome related (ex-post, web-based survey). The pivotal contribution of the research is identification and structuring of process-related strategic FEI key activities. Ex-post evaluation results confirm the practical relevance of the developed process model and its syntactic, semantic and pragmatic quality. In addition, the thesis provides contributions to knowledge base by identifying general FEI principles, process and non-process design requirements and by indicating future research needs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Front End of Innovation
  • Process Model Development
  • Design Science Research
  • Innovation Management
  • Corporate Foresight
  • Strategic Issue Management


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