Title: Reducing project related uncertainty in the ''fuzzy front end'' of innovation: a comparison of German and Japanese product innovation projects

Authors: Cornelius Herstatt, Birgit Verworn, Akio Nagahira

Addresses: Institute of Technology and Innovation Management, Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg, Germany. ' Institute of Technology and Innovation Management, Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg, Germany. ' Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

Abstract: In this paper, we report on the results of an exploratory study including 28 innovation projects carried out by 14 German and 13 Japanese companies to reduce project uncertainty. In all cases, we observed a range of activities to reduce project specific uncertainties and revealed differences in the practice of innovation management in both the German and Japanese companies. The focus of our research was the so-called ||fuzzy front end||, activities and typical deliverables in the innovation process, which might be affected by front end management practice. Overall, in the case of the German as well as the Japanese projects, the uncertainties affected by the market or technology could successfully be reduced during the ||fuzzy front end|| and the majority of projects achieved their objectives and efficiency targets. Nevertheless, our study revealed differences in the way such uncertainties were reduced by the companies in Japan and Germany.

Keywords: fuzzy front end; innovation risk; uncertainty; idea generation; project selection; project planning; Japan; Germany; innovation management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2004.004890

International Journal of Product Development, 2004 Vol.1 No.1, pp.43 - 65

Published online: 13 Jul 2004 *

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