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Encyclopedia of Technology and Innovation Management by Gina Colarelli O'Connor, V. K. Narayanan

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Chapter 26. New-product Development Innovation and Commercialization Processes

Abbie Griffin

University of Utah

History of product development processes

Much new-product development (NPD) research over the last two decades has focused on improving the "process" of new-product development. It has taken the perspective that NPD could be managed like any other (complex) process. The underlying assumption is that standard methods and protocols could be put into place, and individuals and teams could follow a process to repeatedly commercialize a stream of successful new products. That is, the field has worked to change the "art" of product development to the "science" or process of product development.

The PDMA Handbook of New Product Development defines a product development process as:

"A disciplined and defined set of tasks, steps and phases that describe the normal means by which a company repetitively converts embryonic ideas into salable products or services" (Kahn, Castellion, and Griffin, 2005, p. 601).

Formal product development processes were first developed by NASA in the 1960s (Cooper, 1996). Their phased project planning (PPP) process was an elaborate and detailed scheme for working with contractors and suppliers on very complex space projects. The PPP broke development into discrete phases. The formal review points at the end of each phase ensured that all of the tasks in the phase had been satisfactorily completed prior to committing funding for the next phase of the program. ...

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