PhD project: Staging innovative processes at the front end of innovation

Louise Brønnum

The PhD project is a study of how mature development companies handle and work with front end of innovation as a necessary mean for maintaining market position. The study focuses on how the companies work with different strategies for enabling front end of innovation in a mature organization structure with embedded best practices, development culture and paradigms.

The basis for the project is an extensive case study conducted at Danish based Foss. An ethnographical inspired approach was applied in order to understand what front end of innovation is perceived as, how it was executed and where it was anchored in the organization and why. Furthermore a Lego serious play workshop was facilitated in order to capture some of the unspoken and latent shared understandings of the possibilities and the restrictions for working with front end of innovation amongst different actors from different positions and divisions.

The purpose of the project is to obtain knowledge of how a company handles front end of innovation alongside maintaining their pipeline and innovation strategies. In the research it has become clear that the radical front end of innovation is difficult to align with the everyday development agendas and the pipeline. The project will describe how temporary development spaces arise as a mean for making space for an alternative approach to development, and also how these temporary spaces conflicts with an established perceived constitution of development well embedded in the company.   


The project aims at contributing to the ongoing debate of how front end of innovation is managed and executed in mature development companies. I do this by introducing a more cross disciplinary understanding of the problem, not only focusing on the organizational structure, nor management philosophies or development activities, but on how development strategies are enabled and (re)enacted by carefully identifying and drawing on the company constitutional understanding of development.