Deficiencies in Management of the Concept Development Process: Theory and Practice

DS 58-9: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 9, Human Behavior in Design, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Kihlander, Ingrid; Ritzén, Sofia
Series: ICED
Section: Human Behavior in Design
Page(s): 267-278


Concept development is a key success factor in product development and in theory concept development means that a number of concept solutions are generated and evaluated in an objective way using a systematic evaluation method. This paper presents identified deficiencies in both theoretical models and industrial product development. The aim is to supplement previous research, by increasing the understanding of how concept decisions are managed in product development in practice, in order to suggest proposals for improvement of management procedures. Empirical studies have been performed in two large product developing companies that act on the global market. The results imply that actors in the concept development, instead of evaluating different alternatives (as recommended in theory), rather are struggling with developing a solution that will fulfill the specifications. Decisions concerning concepts are found to be embedded in a complex weave of actors and activities that characterizes concept development. It is concluded that changes are required in theory as well as in working procedures in practice in order to actually support the actors in product development.

Keywords: concept decision, decision making, product development process, management models


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