Innovation in Complex Products and Systems (CoPS) : The Coordination of Technology Development within Networks and Projects

Sammanfattning: Complex Product and Systems (CoPS) has been considered a cornerstone of a national innovation strategy. Telecommunications network systems, aircrafts, gas turbines and weapon systems are example of CoPS, and their management are characterized distinctly different from mass-market commodity goods. CoPS developments play an important role in shaping the modern industrial dynamics, since most, if not all, modern commodity goods and services depend on CoPS for their production. Following society’s increasing dependence on CoPS with ever increasing complexity, more research is needed to further uncover the innovation processes that occurs during the long-term evolution and maturation of technologies and tailored solutions needed for CoPS. This technology evolution, from the discovery of basic scientific principles until the development of technology demonstrators and products, usually happens within R&D projects executed and coordinated by a wide range of net-worked actors, from universities, SMEs, large firms, research institutes, industrial organizations and funding agencies.  Hence, it is important to highlight the perspectives of networks and pro-jects to better understand the innovation process during the development of CoPS. In this context, this Thesis aims to explore the coordination of technology development addressing networks and projects, since the latter are usually considered the main unit of analysis for CoPS innovations and require high levels of coordination efforts within a network of diversified actors.   For this purpose, a case study methodology is used with a systematic combining approach, where the theoretical framework, empirical fieldwork, and case analysis are continuously revisited in an iterative way.  By describing and integrating the perspectives of networks and projects, it is suggested that projects are a crucial unit of analysis for understanding network dynamics since they are the mechanisms that enable inter-actions and collaborations for the development of relationships, which ultimately, creates a shared identity.  The results show how diverse actors from different strategic nets can interact to develop a research agenda, coordinate the network of actors and direct the technology path where the research agenda potentially con-tributes to shape a network of R&D projects enabling the network actors to position and reposition themselves. Contributions are made to the CoPS literature and the dichotomy between managing within and managing of the network. It is discussed how network capabilities can be a key component in a network alignment process and their relationship with systems integration, the core capability of a CoPS leading firm. It is suggested that, when the networked actors want to improve their net-work position, they need to identify matching strategic nets, position themselves and contribute to the shaping of their value systems aligning with their strategies. In his context, the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) become an essential tool to make this matching since it communicates to the whole network, the outputs of their efforts in a standardized way. 

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