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

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Chapter 32. Innovation Teams

Gloria Barczak

Northeastern University

This chapter focuses on the teams who do the work of innovation and new-product development. It begins with a description of two different types of innovation teams and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Next, team size, diversity, and proximity are discussed. This is followed by a section that highlights team process issues such as communication and cooperation. The chapter ends with a discussion about the effective leadership of innovation teams.

Definition of innovation teams

Innovation teams are cross-functional groups of individuals who are charged with creating and developing new products and services. Members typically come from a variety of functional disciplines including marketing, engineering, product design, and manufacturing. Innovation teams are temporary in that they are Together for the life of the project from idea conception to launch. Team members are likely to work on multiple projects simultaneously.

In the recent American Productivity Quality Center (APQC) benchmarking study (Cooper, Edgett, and Kleinschmidt, 2002), 72% (75/105) of survey participants indicated that they used cross-functional teams for new-product development. These respondents were representatives of mid to large U.S. business units from a number of different industries. Nearly 74% of the respondent firms used clearly identified team leaders who were responsible for driving projects through their entirety. This study also ...

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