M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentLokiec Michal
SubjectThe Chronicle of an Idea
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor PROFESSOR EMERITUS Miriam Erez
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


This research aims to identify the factors that facilitate or inhibit the creation and survival of "winning" ideas for new products and services. It is designed as a longitudinal intervention, investigating several aspects of the initial phase of ideation, including - problem identification, idea creation, idea evaluation, idea selection and mobilization towards implementation. The research examines the attributes of ideas that were selected for implementation versus ideas that were removed from the list and did not reach the implementation phase (e.g. technical analysis, marketing analysis, strategic analysis). The research consists of two studies: study I took place in a Food Company in Israel. Study II took place in a Medical Device Company in the USA. In each organization a cross functional team participated in a New Promise Development project, and generated 40-65 ideas per project. In each study 5-8 concepts were selected. The idea generation phase was followed by an idea selection phase. A group of decision makers (1-6) made the selection decision concerning each idea. While observing the selection process we identified some criteria that served for making the selection decision, including considerations of technical, marketing, and fit with the organizational strategy & structure. In addition, the study examined the potential impact of the idea source. Implementing CART analysis (a flexible and efficient non parametric classification using binary trees to analyze mixed data types, we found that the criterion of Technical analysis most significantly differentiated between ideas that were selected for implementation and those that were removed. The second criterion that significantly differentiated between the selected and non selected ideas was the organizational strategic analysis. The third criterion of marketing analysis did not significantly add to the differentiation between the selected and non selected ideas over and above the two other criteria.

The level of innovation of the idea itself did not serve as a selection criterion. Therefore, at the end of the study we asked three independent judges to evaluate the level of innovation of the generated ideas. The results demonstrated that the selected ideas were not necessarily the most creative ones according to the inter-rater agreement measurements. Evidence for serial position effect could be found in the data as well.

The results enrich our knowledge concerning the criteria that serve for selecting ideas and mobilizing them towards the implementation phase.