Product: Management & Develop­ment
Product: Management & Develop­ment
Original Article

The Front-Hub of Innovation: updating the classic Fuzzy Front-End to the new approaches of innovation management

Maicon Gouvea de Oliveira, Raoni Barros Bagno, Glauco Henrique de Sousa Mendes, Henrique Rozenfeld, Paulo Tromboni de Souza Nascimento

Downloads: 0
Views: 31


There are new drivers concerning the study of innovation being intensively discussed in practice and literature. However, the debate on Fuzzy Front End, hereafter called the Front-End of Innovation (FEI), has not started to address these new drivers yet, maintaining its concepts somewhat static with regards to the innovation field. This paper discusses how the innovation forms (e.g. process, marketing) introduced by new approaches such as business model innovations, design thinking and product-service systems affect the perspectives of classic front-end concepts. As a result of this investigation, a new approach for dealing with the early stages of innovation – The Front-Hub of Innovation (FHI) – is proposed to embrace new forms of innovation other than the traditional product innovation and aimed at supporting the development of value-oriented innovations. The proposal of FHI is described through four dimensions: value creation, organization, process and people.


fuzzy front end, front and of innovation, front hub of innovation, innovation management, innovation tools.


AMIT, R.; SCHOEMAKER, P. J. H. Strategic assets and organizational rent. Strategic Management Journal, v. 14, n. 1, p. 33-46, 1993.

BAGNO, R. B.; SALERNO, M. S.; SILVA, D. O. Models with graphical representation for innovation management: a literature review. R & D Management, v. 47, n. 4, p. 637-653, 2017.

BAINES, T. et al. Towards an operations strategy for productcentric servitization. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, v. 29, n. 5, p. 494-519, 2009.

BAREGHEH, A.; ROWLEY, J.; SAMBROOK, S. Towards a multidisciplinary definition of innovation. Management Decision, v. 47, n. 8, p. 1323-1339, 2009.

BROWN, T. Design thinking. Harvard Business Review, v. 86, n. 6, p. 84-92, 2008.

BUCHANAN, R. Wicked problems in design thinking. Design Issues, v. 8, n. 2, p. 5-21, 1992.

BUCHERER, E.; EISERT, U.; GASSMANN, O. Towards systematic business model innovation: lessons from product innovation management. Creativity and Innovation Management, v. 21, n. 2, p. 183-198, 2012.

CESCHIN, F. Critical factors for implementing and diffusing sustainable product-service systems: insights from innovation studies and companies’ experiences. Journal of Cleaner Production, v. 45, p. 74-88, 2013.

CHESBROUGH, H. W. The era of open innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review, v. 44, n. 3, p. 35-41, 2003.

CHRISTENSEN, C. M. The Innovator’s Dilemma: when new technologies cause great firms to fail. Boston: Harvard Business School, 1997.

COOPER, R. G. Predevelopment activities determine new product success. Industrial Marketing Management, v. 17, n. 3, p. 237-247, 1988.

COOPER, R. G. Winning at new products: accelerating the process from idea to launch. Reading: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1993.

CROSS, N. Designerly ways of knowing. London: Springer, 2006.

DORST, K.; CROSS, N. Creativity in the design process: coevolution of problem-solution. Design Studies, v. 22, n. 5, p. 425-437, 2001.

DORST, K. The core of “design thinking” and its application. Design Studies, v. 32, n. 6, p. 521-532, 2011.

FENSEL, D. Ontologies: silver bullet for knowledge management and electronic commerce. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 2001.

FRISHAMMAR, J.; LICHTENTHALER, U.; RICHTNER, A. Managing process development: key issues and dimensions in the front end. R & D Management, v. 43, n. 3, p. 213- 226, 2013.

GERICKE, K.; MAIER, A. Scenarios for coupling design thinking with systematic engineering design in NPD. In: 1st Cambridge Academic Design Management Conference. Cambridge, 2011. p. 1-14.

GOEDKOOP, M. J. et al. Report for Dutch Ministries of environment (VROM) and economic affairs (EZ), v. 36, n. 1, p. 1-122, 1999.

GOFFIN, K.; MITCHELL, R. Innovation management: strategy and implementation using the Pentathlon framework. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.

GOLDSCHMIDT, G. Capturing indeterminism: representation in the design problem space. Design Studies, v. 18, n. 4, p. 441-455, 1997.

HANSEN, M. T.; BIRKINSHAW, J. The innovation value chain. Harvard Business Review, v. 85, n. 6, p. 121-130, 2007.

KAHN, K. B. The PDMA glossary for new product development. In: KAHN, K. B. (Ed.). The PDMA handbook of new product development. 2nd ed. USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.

KHURANA, A.; ROSENTHAL, S. R. Integrating the fuzzy front end of new product development. MIT Sloan Management Review, v. 38, n. 2, p. 103-120, 1997.

KHURANA, A.; ROSENTHAL, S. R. Towards holistic “front ends” in new product development. Journal of Product Innovation Management, v. 15, n. 1, p. 57-74, 1998.

KIM, J.; WILEMON, D. Strategic issues in managing innovation’s fuzzy front-end. European Journal of Innovation Management, v. 5, n. 1, p. 27-39, 2002.

KIMBELL, L. Rethinking design thinking: part I. Design and Culture, v. 3, n. 3, p. 285-306, 2011.

KIMBELL, L. Rethinking design thinking: part II. Design and Culture, v. 4, n. 2, p. 129-148, 2012.

KOEN, P. et al. Providing clarity and a common language to the “fuzzy front end”. Research Technology Management, v. 44, n. 2, p. 46-55, 2001.

LEAVY, B. Design thinking–a new mental model of value innovation. Strategy & Leadership, v. 38, n. 3, p. 5-14, 2010.

LEVITT, T. Marketing success through differentiation-of anything. Harvard Business Review, v. 58, n. 1, p. 83-91, 1980.

LIEDTKA, J.; OGILVIE, T. Designing for growth: a design thinking tool kit for managers. USA: Columbia University Press, 2011.

LUSCH, R. F.; NAMBISAN, S. Service innovation: a servicedominant logic perspective. Management Information Systems Quarterly, v. 39, n. 1, 2015.

MARTIN, R. Design thinking: achieving insights via the “knowledge funnel”. Strategy and Leadership, v. 38, n. 2, p. 37-41, 2010.

MENDES, G. H. et al. Product-Service System (PSS) design process methodologies: a systematic literature review. In: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENGINEERING DESIGN (ICED 15), 20., 2015. Milan. Proceedings… Glasgow: Design Society, 2015. p. 291-300.

MENDES, G. H. S.; OLIVEIRA, M. G. Bibliometric analysis of the front-end of innovation. In: PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MANAGEMENT OF ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (PICMET), 15., 2015, Portand. Proceedings… Portand: Portland State University, 2015.

MOENAERT, R. K. et al. R&D/marketing communication during the fuzzy front-end. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, v. 42, n. 3, p. 243-258, 1995.

MONT, O. K. Clarifying the concept of product–service system. Journal of Cleaner Production, v. 10, n. 3, p. 237-245, 2002.

MURPHY, S. A.; KUMAR, V. The front end of new product development: a Canadian survey. R & D Management, v. 27, n. 1, p. 5-15, 1997.

O’CONNOR, G. C. et al. Grabbing lightning: building a capability for breakthrough innovation. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

OLIVEIRA, M. G. et al. A starting point for addressing product innovativeness in the Fuzzy Front–End. International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning, v. 7, n. 4, p. 309-326, 2011.

OLIVEIRA, M. G. et al. Decision making at the front end of innovation: the hidden influence of knowledge and decision criteria. R & D Management, v. 45, n. 2, p. 161-180, 2015.



OSTERWALDER, A.; PIGNEUR, Y. An e-Business model ontology for modeling e-Business. In: BLED ELECTRONIC COMMERCE CONFERENCE (BLED), 15., 2002, Bled, Sloveni. Proceedings… Bled: University of Maribor, 2002. p. 75-91

OSTERWALDER, A.; PIGNEUR, Y. Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

POSKELA, J. Strategic and operative level front-end innovation activities—integration perspective. International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management, v. 4, n. 4, p. 433-456, 2007.

PUGH, S. Total design: integrated methods for successful product engineering. Wokingham, England: AddisonWesley Pub. Co., 1991.

RAUTH, I. et al. Design thinking: an educational model towards creative confidence. In: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON DESIGN CREATIVITY (ICDC 2010), 1., Kobe, Japan. Proceedings… Glasgow: Design Society, 2010. p. 1-8.

REID, S. E.; DE BRENTANI, U. The fuzzy front end of new product development for discontinuous innovations: a theoretical model. Journal of Product Innovation Management, v. 21, n. 3, p. 170-184, 2004.

RICHARDSON, J. The business model: an integrative framework for strategy execution. Strategic Change, v. 17, n. 5-6, p. 133-144, 2008.

ROGERS, E. M. Diffusion of innovations. USA: The Free Press, 2003.

ROWE, P. Design thinking. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1987. SAWHNEY, M.; WOLCOTT, R. C.; ARRONIZ, I. The 12 different ways for companies to innovate. MIT Sloan Management Review, v. 47, n. 3, p. 75-81, 2006.

SCHUMPETER, J. The theory of economic development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1934. SILVA, D. O. D.; BAGNO, R. B.; SALERNO, M. S. Models for innovation management: review and analysis of the literature. Production, v. 24, n. 2, p. 477-490, 2014.

SIMON, H. The sciences of the artificial. 3rd ed. Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1969.

SKLAR, A.; MADSEN, S. Global ergonomics: design for social impact. Ergonomics in Design, v. 18, n. 2, p. 4-31, 2010.

STICKDORN, M.; SCHNEIDER, J. This is service design thinking. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers, 2011.

STOCKSTROM, C.; HERSTATT, C. Planning and uncertainty in new product development. R & D Management, v. 38, n. 5, p. 480-490, 2008.

TAN, A. R. Service-oriented product development strategies. 2010. 261 f. PhD (Thesis)-Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, 2010.

TEECE, D. J. Business models, business strategy and innovation. Long Range Planning, v. 43, n. 2-3, p. 172- 194, 2010.

TIDD, J.; PAVITT, K.; BESSANT, J. Managing innovation: integrating technological, market and organizational change: USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

VARGO, S. L.; LUSCH, R. F. Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. Journal of Marketing, v. 68, n. 1, p. 1-17, 2004.

VERGANTI, R. Design-driven innovation: changing the rules of competition by radically innovating what things mean. Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2009.

WHEELWRIGHT, S. C.; CLARK, K. B. Revolutionizing product development: quantum leaps speed, efficiency and quality. New York: The Free Press, 1992.

ZHANG, Q.; DOLL, W. J. The fuzzy front end and success of new product development: a causal model. European Journal of Innovation Management, v. 4, n. 2, p. 95-112, 2001.

ZOTT, C.; AMIT, R.; MASSA, L. The business model: recent developments and future research. Journal of Management, v. 37, n. 4, p. 1019-1042, 2011.

5c9e10660e8825e3599ed45d pmd Articles
Links & Downloads


Share this page
Page Sections