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  • 1.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för industriell ekonomi. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Design processes and novelty in small companies: a multiple case study2009In: ICED 09 - THE 17TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENGINEERING DESIGN: Proceedings, Vol. 1, Design processes, 2009, p. 265-278Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study explores the design processes in small established companies and investigates how these design processes are executed. How two different kinds of novelty influence the design processes is further examined: the relative novelty of the product being developed and the relative novelty of design processes. The relative novelty of the product is high if it is a radically new product to develop.

    High relative novelty for design processes typically means no experience or knowledge about design processes. Based on an embedded multiple case study of three small established companies in Sweden, eight different design processes are described and analyzed. The results show that the design processes differ, even within the same company. The results also show that relative novelty affects the design process. If the relative novelty of both the product to be developed and of design processes is low, a linear, structured, and systematic design process was found to work. A design process that is cyclical, experimental, and knowledge-creating seems to work no matter the relative novelty.

  • 2.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Industrial economics. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    How small enterprises manage resource scarcity in their product innovation processes2011In: Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship / [ed] H. Fulford, Reading: Academic Conferences Limited, 2011, p. 583-592Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Small enterprises have scarce resources, which is the main factor hindering their innovation of new products. Despite this resource scarcity, some small enterprises do innovate. The research question is: how do small enterprises manage resource scarcity in their product innovation processes? A multiple case study of three different small enterprises was used to answer the research question. The enterprises implement several approaches to use existing resources more efficiently or increase existing resources, such as reducing formality and including customers and users in the innovation processes, intertwining innovation processes, working concurrently on innovation and operational processes, adopting lead-user inventions, and only starting innovation processes when a current customer asks for or needs the potential new product. The efficiency of these approaches is found to be explained by common small enterprise characteristics. One conclusion from this study is that resource scarcity can be managed and small enterprises’ specific characteristics can facilitate innovation if these are recognized and used as strengths. 

  • 3.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Industrial economics. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Initiation of innovation in small companies2010In: Proceedings of the 11th CINet conference, 5-7 September, Zürich, 2010Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 4.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för industriell ekonomi. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Innovation and Design Processes in Small Established Companies2009Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis examines innovation and design processes in small established companies. There is a great interest in this area yet paradoxically the area is under-researched, since most innovation research is done on large companies. The research questions are: How do small established companies carry out their innovation and design processes? and How does the context and novelty of the process and product affect the same processes?

    The thesis is built on three research papers that used the research method of multiple case studies of different small established companies. The innovation and design processes found were highly context dependent and were facilitated by committed resources, a creative climate, vision, low family involvement, delegated power and authority, and linkages to external actors such as customers and users. Both experimental cyclical and linear structured design processes were found. The choice of structure is explained by the relative product and process novelty experienced by those developing the product innovation. Linear design processes worked within a low relative novelty situation and cyclical design processes worked no matter the relative novelty. The innovation and design processes found were informal, with a low usage of formal systematic design methods, except in the case of design processes for software. The use of formal systematic methods in small companies seems not always to be efficient, because many of the problems the methods are designed to solve are not present. Customers and users were found to play a large and important role in the innovation and design processes found and gave continuous feedback during the design processes. Innovation processes were found to be intertwined, yielding synergy effects, but it was common that resources were taken from the innovation processes for acute problems that threatened the cash flow. In sum, small established companies have the natural prerequisites to take advantage of lead-user inventions and cyclical design processes. Scarce resources were found to be the main factor hindering innovation, but the examined companies practiced several approaches to increase their resources or use existing scarce resources more efficiently in their innovation and design processes. Examples of these approaches include adopting lead-user inventions and reducing formality in the innovation and design processes.

  • 5.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Industrial economics. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Managing Resource Scarcity in Small Enterprises’ Design Processes2011In: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11): Impacting Society Through Engineering Design: Vol. 3: Design Organisation and Management / [ed] Steve. Culley et al., Glasgow: The Design Society, 2011, p. 164-175Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Small enterprises have scarce resources, which is the main factor hindering their innovation and design of new products. Despite this resource scarcity, some small enterprises do innovate and design new products. The research question is: how do small enterprises manage resource scarcity in their design processes? A multiple case study of three different small enterprises was used to answer the research question. The enterprises implement several approaches to use existing resources more efficiently or increase existing resources, such as reducing formality and including customers and users in the design processes, intertwining design processes, working concurrently on design and operational processes, adopting lead-user inventions, and only starting design processes when a current customer asks for or needs the potential new product. The efficiency of these approaches is found to be explained by common small enterprise characteristics. One conclusion from this study is that resource scarcity can be managed and small enterprises’ specific characteristics can facilitate innovation and design if these are recognized and used as strengths.

  • 6.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Industrial economics. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Motivation for innovation in small enterprises2012In: International Journal of Technology Management, ISSN 0267-5730, E-ISSN 1741-5276, Vol. 60, no 3-4, p. 242-265Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examines which factors motivate small enterprises to realise product innovations and how these factors affect their innovation processes. In a multiple embedded case study of three small enterprises, 11 different innovation processes, both realised and unrealised, were discovered and analysed. Strategy, competition, profit, growth, source of innovation idea, innovation process size and novelty were not found to explain the motivation to innovate, but ten interdependent motivating factors did, of which four externally oriented factors were found conclusive for innovation to occur. The factors found, dealing with resource scarcity, technology and market uncertainty and risk, and cash flow, highly affected how the innovation processes were carried out. The findings further show that the need to maintain steady cash flow seems to be the overall motive for product innovation in small enterprises.

  • 7.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för industriell ekonomi.
    Prerequisites for innovation in small companies: a multiple case study2008In: Proceedings of the 9th International CINet Conference in Valencia, 7-9 September, 2008., 2008Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 8.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Industrial economics. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Product and Process Novelty in Small Companies' Design Processes2010In: Creativity and Innovation Management, ISSN 0963-1690, E-ISSN 1467-8691, Vol. 19, no 4, p. 405-416Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores the design processes in small companies and investigates how these design processes are executed. The influence of two different kinds of novelty on the design processes is further examined: the relative novelty of the product being developed and the relative novelty of design processes. The relative novelty of the product is high if it is a radically new product to develop. High relative novelty for design processes typically means no experience or knowledge about design processes. Based on an embedded multiple case study of three small companies in Sweden, eight different design processes are described and analysed. The results show that the design processes differ, even within the same company, and that relative novelty affects the design process. If the relative novelty of both the product to be developed and of the design processes is low, a formalized and linear design process was found to work. A design process that is cyclical, iterative and knowledge-creating was found to work irrespective of the relative novelty. Customers and users were found to play a large and important role in the design processes.

  • 9.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för industriell ekonomi. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Product and process novelty in small companies´design processes: A multiple case study2009In: 10th International CINet Conference: Enhancing the innovation environment, Brisbane, Australia, 6-8 September 2009, 2009, p. 1-16Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study explores the design processes in small established companies and investigates how these design processes are executed. How two different kinds of novelty influence the design processes is further examined: the relative novelty of the product being developed and the relative novelty of design processes. The relative novelty of the product is high if it is a radically new product to develop. High relative novelty for design processes typically means no experience or knowledge about design processes. Based on an embedded multiple case study of three small established companies in Sweden, eight different design processes are described and analyzed. The results show that the design processes differ, even within the same company. The results also show that relative novelty affects the design process. If the relative novelty of both the product to be developed and of design processes is low, a linear, structured, and systematic design process was found to work. A design process that is cyclical, experimental, and knowledge-creating seems to work no matter the relative novelty.

  • 10.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Industrial economics. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Product innovation in small companies: managing resource scarcity through financial bootstrapping2017In: International Journal of Innovation Management, ISSN 1363-9196, E-ISSN 1757-5877, Vol. 21, no 2, article id UNSP 1750020Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Researchers have proposed that scarce resources are the main factor hindering product innovation in small companies. However, despite scarce resources, small companies do innovate, so the research question is: How do small companies manage resource scarcity in product innovation? To answer the research question a multiple case study of three small established companies and their product innovation was used, including interviews and observations over a period of five months. The small companies were found to use many different bootstrapping methods in combination within their product innovation. The methods can be classified into three different functional categories: bootstrapping methods for increasing resources, for using existing resources more efficiently, and those for securing a fast payback on resources put into product innovation. Due to their resource scarcity, the studied companies also favoured an innovation strategy only involving new products done with known technology and targeting existing markets. This strategy seems to avoid unsuccessful innovation but at the same time exclude technologically radical innovation.

  • 11.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Industrial economics. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production. KTH, Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.).
    Product innovation in small established enterprises: Managing processes and resource scarcity2014Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis examines product innovation processes in small established enterprises. The research questions are: (1) what motivates small established enterprises to innovate, (2) how do small established enterprises perform product innovation, and (3) how do small established enterprises manage resource scarcity in their product innovation processes? To answer the research questions, a multiple case study approach was chosen with three small established enterprises as cases and different product innovation processes as embedded units of study. The data collection method used was observation during a period of five months, complemented by interviews and secondary data. Product innovation in small established enterprises seems to be motivated by solving existing customers’ problems and the need for a sustained steady cash flow. A steady cash flow is also found to be a prerequisite during the product innovation processes. Product innovation seems to occur when there is a risk of decreased cash flow and/or when existing customers can be satisfied with new products that increase their loyalty so as to secure future sales, cash flow, and the enterprise’s survival in the long run. Promising innovation ideas alone do not result in product innovation. An innovation idea must also have supportive existing customers for product innovation to occur.

    Product innovation processes in the studied small established enterprises are found highly context dependent, intertwined in operational processes and made possible by a small organic organization and closeness to existing customers. The product innovation processes are further found to follow a flexible and informal overall scheme optimized for decreasing market and technology uncertainty and risk, dealing with resource scarcity, and facilitating fast and easy commercialization to avoid or moderate dips in cash flow. The design processes within the innovation processes can be linearly structured or cyclical and experimental, depending on the experienced novelty.

    To manage resource scarcity during the product innovation processes, the studied small enterprises used many different bootstrapping methods in combination. These methods can be divided into three categories according to their overall functions: for using existing resources more efficiently, for increasing resources and to secure a fast payback on resources invested in NPD. The studied small enterprises were due to their resource scarcity further found to favor an innovation strategy, only involving new products done with known technology and targeting existing markets. This way to innovate, which creates new products in a resource-efficient way that are accepted by the enterprises’ existing markets, seems to prevent unsuccessful product innovation, while at the same time excluding technologically radical innovation and innovation targeting new markets. 

  • 12.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för industriell ekonomi.
    The use of methodology for product and service development in SME: an exploratory study of 18 small companies2007In: 8th International CINet conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 9-11 September, 2007, 2007Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 13.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för industriell ekonomi.
    The use of methodology for product and service development in SME:s: an exploratory study of 18 small companies2007In: 8th International CINet Conference: Continuous Innovation - Opportunities and Challenges, Gothenburg, Sweden, 7-11 September 2007, 2007, p. 1-9Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper examines the use of systematic methods in the product and service development process within small companies. The method used was semi structured interviews with persons involved in the product or service development process in the companies. The results show that almost all of the 18 companies examined in the study used no systematic methodology in their product or service development processes. The development processes were often ad hoc and inefficient and the companies were aware of this problem and suffered from it. They wanted to change their way of working but did not know how, yet expressed that a more systematic product or service development methodology could be a promising alternative to solve their problems. The small companies often had scarce resources for product or service development and had limited or no knowledge of systematic methods that could be used in their product and service development processes. Only one company in the study had a structured and effective product development methodology that suited the company’s characteristics. This case, however, shows that a structured and effective product or service development process is possible in a small company.

  • 14.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Industrial economics. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Renngård, Ivar
    Movexum AB.
    The creation of mutual benefit within innovation management research on small companies2015In: 16th International CINet Conference: Pursuing Innovation Leadership, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research and small company practice have a different logic. It is difficult to bring these two greatly differing activities together to create mutual benefit within a research project on innovation management. This is a problem especially if the researcher wishes to make a direct practical contribution to the companies involved in the research. This research aims to explore the difficulties in collaboration for mutual benefit, but also provides an example of a research approach which created mutual benefit for all involved. The conclusions build on an earlier PhD project on product innovation processes in small companies together with extensive reflections and discussions with the strategic manager at one of the involved companies. The study presents several major differences between research and small company practice and gives arguments for why more traditional research approaches in the innovation management field by themselves, such as survey and interview research, seem to be less suitable if mutual benefit is a goal. Finally, the study illustrates a research approach creating mutual benefit, knowledge creation, and knowledge transfer from academia to business practice and vice versa. This research approach includes concurrently giving the involved company valuable input and flexibility so as not to disturb the company’s cash flow.

  • 15.
    Moreira e Silva Bernardes, Maurício
    et al.
    Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Allegre, Brazil.
    Brunhari Kauling, Graziela
    Federal Institute of Santa Catarina, Araranguá, Brazil.
    Chang Chain, Milena
    University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, Trois - Rivières, Canada.
    Löfqvist, Lars
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Industrial economics. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Original Design in a Copying-Intensive Industry2017In: International Journal of Computer Applications, ISSN 0975-8887, E-ISSN 0975-8887, Vol. 159, no 7, p. 29-38Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In some industries, copying is common and extensive. Most literature on the topic focuses on legal issues and interprets copying as a problem. To better understand the copying phenomenon, this study investigates the relationship between copying and design processes in five case companies in a copying-intensive industry. The findings reveal that unlike design processes, copying processes lack early conceptual activities. Furthermore, resources and contact with the end market are found to be prerequisites for professional and strategic design processes, whereas a lack of these better suits copying processes, especially in industries with low product variety and limited design problems.

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