An intimate approach to the management and integration of design knowledge for small firms

Ford, P. ORCID: 0000-0002-9607-3292, 2016. An intimate approach to the management and integration of design knowledge for small firms. In: E. Bova, ed., The 20th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference proceedings. Boston, MA: Design Management Institute, pp. 59-80. ISBN 9780615991528

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In August 2012 the author presented a paper entitled ‘’The Fuzzy Front End of Product Design Projects: How Universities Can Manage Knowledge Transfer and Creation’’ at the International Design Management Research Conference that year. Via a series of design projects and design support schemes, the paper investigated how a higher education institution with a particular approach to the management and integrating of knowledge on behalf of small firms, could bring together manufacturers, sub-contractors, design consultancies, market researchers, intellectual property specialists, funding bodies and other higher education institutions to make for an extremely effective design support network. In particular the paper dealt with the dynamics of knowledge acquisition during the ‘‘fuzzy front end’’ of product design projects. It was suggested that, through this novel approach, the management and integration of the different players involved in new product development (NPD), higher education institutions could help small firms, in particular, achieve effective knowledge transfer, develop new knowledge and generally reduce and manage uncertainty in the process and therefore utilise design more effectively in generating new products and increasing profitability.

This paper investigates the work that has taken place in the ensuing years including material that led to ‘outstanding impact’ in the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) evidencing significant economic growth as a result of this approach to the management of the NPD process for small firms.

The paper proposes that the management and integration of those factors leading to successful NPD for small firms requires an ‘intimate’ style of engagement to be effective; demanding a broad knowledge of, and or an ability to manage, those factors pertinent to the needs of small firm. This can be seen as being similar in approach to the ‘heavyweight manager’ proposed by Clarke and Fujimoto (1991) for larger organisations with ‘in-house’ NPD teams. Based on four case studies, this paper attempts to identify the nature of this ‘intimate’ approach and therefore its potential significance

Item Type: Chapter in book
Description: Paper presented at the 20th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference: Inflection point: design research meets design practice, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, United States, 28-29 July 2016.
Creators: Ford, P.
Publisher: Design Management Institute
Place of Publication: Boston, MA
Date: 2016
ISBN: 9780615991528
Rights: Copyright © 2016. Copyright in each paper on this conference proceedings is the property of the author(s). Permission is granted to reproduce copies of these works for purposes relevant to the above conference, provided that the author(s), source and copyright notice are included on each copy. For other uses, including extended quotation, please contact the author(s).
Divisions: Schools > School of Art and Design
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 13 Dec 2018 13:23
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2018 13:23

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