Process management in R&D - Doom or Salvation for Creativity?

Sammanfattning: R&D organizations of today must constantly seek ways to becomemore efficient in order to stay competitive. To accomplish thismany organizations turn to process management approaches suchas lean product development. But how does the use of processmanagement influence the creativity of the people in theorganization? How will they manage both the creative search andexploration of future opportunities and the efficient exploitation ofcurrent offerings simultaneously? Previous research has shown thatcompanies often fail in this quest and that exploration is at risk ofbeing neglected in favour of exploitation where the feedback andreturn on invested work are more immediate.This thesis sets out to study how the combination of exploration interms of creativity, and exploitation in terms of processmanagement, plays out at Scania, a developer and manufacturer ofheavy trucks. The research builds on data collected by means of aquestionnaire study where a large part of the R&D organizationparticipated. The results reveal surprisingly positive relationshipsbetween process management and creativity. Firstly, the existenceof clear routines showed a positive relationship with several aspectsof ideation. The results, however, stress the importance of havingdynamic routines where the organization is open to changing theexisting routines when needed. Secondly, strong demands ondelivery precision was positively related to the creation of novelideas in the industrialization process. Thirdly, the use of continuousimprovement efforts was positively related to aspects of creativity.These results indicate that routinization can benefit creativity andthat mangers should encourage the mapping and continuousimprovement of routines. Furthermore, goals for innovationinfluence how much time is spent on exploratory activities.Managers with innovation aspirations should therefore make clearto the organization that innovation is an important part of theoperations. Finally, managers and employees should formulatespecific product innovation goals and demand high deliveryprecision also for deliverables of exploratory nature.