Focusing the fuzzy front–end in new product development
Effectively managing the ‘upfront or fuzzy front–end’ (FFE) of the product development process is one of the most important, difficult challenges facing innovation managers. In this paper, we define the FFE as the period between when an opportunity is first considered and when an idea is judged ready for development. We classify the outcomes of the FFE into product definition, time, and people dimensions. We suggest several strategies to manage the FFE by assigning a FFE manager or team; by providing organizational support for FFE activities; by understanding the sources of FFE ambiguity; by building an information system; and by developing relationships with supporters, partners, and alliances.
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