Within industries, various sizes and types of companies thrive and fail depending on how well they can respond to current and future customer needs and the challenges of the business environment.
But why do certain companies within an industry perform better than others and what are the so-called best practices they utilise to become successful? Academic research may help practitioners to identify, validate and expand knowledge in such questions. In my Master’s Thesis I focused on the discovering best practices of the Front End of Innovation for the Maritime Industry.
Front end of innovation – where the ideas born
The front end of innovation, also known as fuzzy front-end, is the first part of the innovation process, when a business opportunity is identified, ideas for the opportunity are invented, and a concept for developing the actual solution is defined and planned.
The front end of innovation is still more or less unclear to academics and practitioners. For practitioners, profounder knowledge of a certain industry provides valuable hints to develop their own processes, practices and thinking. That was why, I wanted to study the front end of innovation and especially its opportunity identification and analysis part.
Maritime industry – the combination of old and new
Traditionally, the maritime industry changes slowly and a pressure for transformation comes from environmental and safety regulations as well as from local legislation. However, global megatrends such as globalization, digitalization, automatization and sustainability, have accelerated the transformation cycle of the maritime industry. Therefore, companies can no longer innovate just what buyers, in maritime industry that would be ship yards, explicitly happen to ask for.
The maritime solution providers should think and understand the latent customer needs of direct customers and end users as well. Inspecting how new technologies and business models from the other industries disrupt the business environment is also important.
Results that matter in practice
The case company of my Thesis was interested in to look for theoretically justified ways to deepen their understanding on the Front End of Innovations.
The results indicated that within the maritime industry a directive innovation vision and profound collaboration with all kind of partners are important factors for being successful within the front end of innovation. After working a while for other maritime solution provider, I can indeed say that directive innovation vision and profound collaboration are important in innovating new solutions within the maritime industry.
Master’s Thesis Title: Opportunity Identification and Analysis within the Front End of Innovation: An Instrumental Case Study within the Maritime Industry
Supervisor: Outi-Maaria Palo-oja