The fuzzy front end of product design projects: how universities can manage knowledge transfer and creation.
Over 20 years, the Design Unit at De Montfort University, Leicester, has undertaken research projects for both large firms and small or medium-sized enterprises. Many projects have been fully funded by private sector clients; but in those projects assisted by public funds, the Unit’s research has brought together manufacturers, sub-contractors, design consultancies, market researchers, intellectual property specialists, funding bodies and other higher education institutions. Using these experiences, the paper focuses on the dynamics of knowledge acquisition during the ‘fuzzy front end’ of product design projects. We suggest that, through a novel management and integration of different players in new product development, higher education institutions can help small firms, in particular, get existing knowledge transferred to them, develop new knowledge, lower uncertainty through prototypes, and so make the most of design.
Citation : Ford, P. and Woudhuysen, J. (2012) The fuzzy front end of product design projects: how universities can manage knowledge transfer and creation. 2012 International Design Management Research Conference, 8-9 August, Boston.
- School of Design