Information ﬂows are mediated and supported by an appropriate work-organisation
format and design methodology. However, in order for these modes of organisation
and design methods to be deployed successfully, the necessary informal as well
as formal information ﬂows and communication patterns have to be put
in place and have to be sustained. Hence, there is a direct two-way interaction
between structural variables such as organisation, design methodology and design
technology on the one hand and information ﬂows on the other hand. This
two-way interaction is at the heart of the process of coping with ambiguity
and uncertainty as discussed earlier. The two-way interaction also is at the
center of what I will later call the ‘Integrated Design Capability’
of the innovative ﬁrm.
As further shown in Figure 1, innovation performance is a complex and multi-dimensional
construct. Performance relates to such rational, ﬁnancial indicators
as market shares and revenues that accrue from new product development activities.
However, market shares and revenues are only one dimension of the performance
concept. The second route toward measuring performance refers to the internal
efﬁciency of the process. It considers the extent to which the development
process is efﬁciently managed in terms of, for instance, throughput times
during the various phases of the innovation trajectory (e.g. time-to-concept,
experimental problem-solving cycle times, time-to-ramp-up). A third type of
performance dimension relates to ‘perceptual’ indicators such as
the innovation’s contribution to the competitive edge of the organisation.
It is important to accept the multidimensionality of the performance construct.
Early studies on innovation performance have indeed focused quite heavily on
the market and ﬁnancial performance indicators. Even today, many project
management techniques that are used to follow-up on new product development
projects still use this rather linear approach. In an era where the capability
to quickly learn from failure and experimentation is probably one of the hallmark
characteristics of successful innovators, this traditional, rational performance
approach may be dangerous, as it tends to focus on single-loop learning rather
than double-loop learning.
These dimensions of innovative performance (often operationalised at the project-level
and aggregated at the portfolio-level) are inﬂuenced and leveraged by
a myriad of parameters, as is further shown in Figure 1. As mentioned, communication
patterns, information ﬂows, and work organisation techniques are at the
core of this framework. In addition, there are important roles to be assumed.