The Problem with Errors : Solution Search in Platform Development

Sammanfattning: This dissertation is concerned with problem-solving in platform development. A problem isconceived of as an obstacle that needs to be overcome in order to reach a desired outcome,whereas a solution is denoted by the set of activities required to reach such an outcome. Aplatform is conceived of as the technological foundation made up of a number of elements thatare purposely planned and developed to form a common structure from which a stream ofderivative products can be developed. Problem-solving in platform development is a non-trivialtask since platforms need to cater for both commonality and distinctiveness across a number ofderivative products. Further, several design architectures are intertwined in the development ofplatforms, giving rise to increased complexity. The purpose of this dissertation is to exploreplatform development from a problem-solving perspective, with the purpose of answering whatproblem-solving activities are carried out in platform development processes, how are differentapproaches to the search for solutions related to problem-solving in platform development, andhow can problem-solving in platform development be conceptualized? This dissertation is basedon two empirical studies of platform development processes from the telecommunication andautomotive industry, and draws upon a qualitative research methodology. The result of this studyis an iterative and dynamic model of solution search in problem-solving. This dissertationimplies a distinction between problems and errors in platform development. Solution searchemerge as a matter of choice of whether to engage in problem-solving activities and/or errorcorrection activities during the development of platforms. Solution search also surface as anintermingled process of search for required inputs, outputs, or governing laws (i.e. solutions) forreaching a desired goal. In this process, analytical search, directional search, and synthesizedsearch and the facilitation and management of both feed-back and feedforward is important.