Mitigating Uncertainty by Including the Customer in the Fuzzy Front-End of Innovation - A comparative multiple-case study of Polestar and On to identify successful customer collaboration
Sammanfattning: The fuzzy front-end (FFE) is the first phase of new product development which is associatedwith high levels of uncertainty. Mitigating uncertainty is a key factor to enable successfulinnovation. With the inclusion of uncertainty reduction activities within the FFE firms canaccurately forecast market adoption, user experience and reduce capital expenditures. Currentliterature explores the relationship between type of innovation and levels of uncertainty andfurther identifies customer co-creation as a strategic tool in today's ever changing businessenvironment. This thesis investigates Polestar and On using an abductive research approachwhere qualitative data is collected to investigate how both firms collaborate with customers toreduce the level of uncertainty in the FFE. This paper contributes to existing literature onuncertainty reduction in the FFE by introducing a conceptual framework. It shows therelationship between four factors: (1) type of innovation, (2) level of uncertainty, (3) customerco-creation and (4) type of users, and further elaborates on how Polestar can include certaincustomers in the innovation process to facilitate successful innovation. The visualization helpsto understand that the type of innovation impacts the uncertainty of the project which furtherinfluences the level of customer co-creation and what characteristics to involve. The mainfinding is that customer co-creation enables for uncertainty reduction in the FFE and dependingon the type of innovation, the customer can contribute with various amounts of insights. Itfurther shows that certain customer characteristics are beneficial to involve in innovationdepending on what outcome the firm aims to achieve.
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