Product innovation in a medium size mature manufacturing company
This thesis is concerned with the management of product innovation inside the medium size, mature, manufacturing company. An academic perspective of innovation is integrated with an account of direct participation acquired over a two year period. The emergent synthesis provides fresh insight into some of the problems associated with producing and sustaining innovation. Product innovation is a very complex activity, and it presents particular difficulties for mature industry. However, the ability to innovate is fundamental to a company's continued survival. Three aspects of product innovation are examined in detail. Firstly, is the requirement to separate innovation activity from the on-going business interests; dependency between the degree of separation and novelty is supported. Secondly, a simple sequential model of the innovation process is tested and shown to be of considerable practical value. Thirdly a relationship is established between the age of the recipient market and the type of innovation to be found in that market All three aspects are found to have important implications for management in their pursuit of innovation. Management deficiencies which inhibited the successful resolution of innovation-linked problems are described and solutions which stress the need for commitment and coherency are proposed. The long existing management structure in the mature company which mitigates against successful and continuing innovation are examined in detail and a strategy is evolved which uses the intrinsic strengths of the mature company to promote innovation of a kind compatible with success in the market. A set of guidelines of practical value is presented for those managers wishing to pursue, and sustain, product innovation in the medium size mature company.