Organizational decision making : the Fuzzy Front End
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Decision-makers have many defined and widely accepted tools in place to manage projects and programs. However, can the same be said for the very early stages of projects? This research investigates what researchers are now referring to as the Fuzzy Front End of Innovation, which is defined as the territory leading up to organizational-level absorption and commercialization of the innovation process. Despite all of the actions in establishing new operational efficiencies and project management guidelines to improve New Product Development (NPD), a formalized model does not exist for the screening and filtering of the most exceptional opportunities. The ALAS Fuzzy Front End of Innovation Process Model is proposed to help manage the innovation process. This model is based on an in-depth literature review and respondent interview data. As a secondary topic this thesis will look to understand and propose the organizational structure required to support pre-phase Fuzzy Front End activities, governance and management’s role. This will not be a discussion on organizational types within development or engineering organizations (i.e.: matrix, product, platform organizational structures) but rather from the findings propose a structure that helps define who the key stake holders are in approving or rejecting development efforts.