Palavras-chave: rbs; Modelos de pré-desenvolvimento; Atividades e técnicas. Abstract

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Gest. Prod.

,  São  Carlos

Resumo: Este trabalho tem como objetivo o levantamento sistemático e análise dos modelos e atividades propostos 

pela literatura para a condução da fase de pré-desenvolvimento de novos produtos, bem como das técnicas e 

ferramentas adotadas na fase. A Revisão Bibliográfica Sistemática realizada identificou a existência de 10 modelos 

compostos por diferentes atividades para a fase do pré-desenvolvimento. Estes modelos foram publicados entre 1988 

e 2013 e buscam sistematizar o pré-desenvolvimento e orientar os gestores na condução da fase. Observou-se que, 

embora com nomenclaturas diferentes, atividades como identificação de oportunidades, seleção de oportunidades, 

geração de ideias, seleção de ideias, desenvolvimento de conceitos, seleção de conceitos e planejamento do projeto

são recorrentes em todos os modelos, concluindo-se, portanto, que estas são essenciais e devem estar presentes na 

fase de pré-desenvolvimento, independentemente do tipo de produto fabricado ou setor no qual a empresa atua. 

Também foram identificadas 57 diferentes técnicas, auxiliadas por diversas ferramentas que, segundo os autores, 

podem ser eficazes para a condução das atividades de pré-desenvolvimento.

Palavras-chave: RBS; Modelos de pré-desenvolvimento; Atividades e técnicas.

Abstract: This paper has as main objective the systematic collection and analysis of models and activities proposed 

by the literature for the conduct of the pre-development phase of new products, as well as the techniques and tools 

used for the implementation of this phase. A Systematic Bibliographic Review identified the existence of 10 models 

composed of different activities for the predevelopment phase. These models were published between 1988 and 

2013. They sought to systematize the predevelopment phase and guide managers in its conduct. It was observed 

that, although with different nomenclatures, activities such as opportunity identification, opportunity selection, idea 

generation, idea selection, concept development, concept selection, and project planning are recurrent in all models. 

Therefore, these activities are essential and must be present in the predevelopment phase, regardless of the type of 

product manufactured or sector to which the company belongs. Also, 57 different techniques aided by various tools 

were identified. According to the authors, these techniques can be effective in the conduct of predevelopment activities.

Keywords: BSR; Predevelopment models; Activities and techniques.

Analisis of predevelopment models and activities:  

a systematic bibliografic review

Análise dos modelos e atividades do pré-desenvolvimento:  

revisão bibliográfica sistemática

Marcela Avelina Bataghin Costa

José Carlos de Toledo


Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia São Paulo – IFSP, Rodovia Washington Luís, Km 235, Prédio AT-6, sala 139, 

Bairro Monjolinho, CEP 13565-905, São Carlos, SP, Brazil, e-mail:

Programa de Pós-graduação em Engenharia de Produção – PPGEP, Departamento de Engenharia de Produção, Universidade Federal 

de São Carlos – UFSCar, Campus São Carlos, Rodovia Washington Luís, Km 235, Bairro Monjolinho, CEP 13565-905, São Carlos, 

SP, Brazil, e-mail:

Received Nov. 20, 2014 - Accepted Nov. 26, 2015

Financial support: CPNq.

1 Introduction

The pre-development term refers to the translation 

of the English terms “The Fuzzy Front End” or “fron 

End” used for the first time in the article “The strategist’s 

role in shortening product development” from Smith 

and Reinertsen in 1991 and corresponds the activities 

and the period between the generation of an initial 

idea for a new product and the company’s decision to 

invest in its development (Smith & Reinertsen, 1991).

The development of new products is an important 

strategy for companies introduce innovations into 

the market and the initial stages of this process are 

critical to the proper definition of the innovations 

that the new product, or an improved product, should 

present in the market, and that will actually be 

developed in the following stages of the development 

process. The pre-development constitutes therefore, 

in the initial phase of the new product development 

process or PDP, and is therefore directly related to 

the strategies and innovative capacity of companies.

Costa, M. A. B. et al.


Gest. Prod.

,  São  Carlos     

According to Koen et al. (2001) The basis for the 

successful development of new products is based on 

the pre-development stage. This phase involves the 

identification and selection activities opportunities, 

generating ideas and concepts and evaluation of 

concepts of products (Crawford & Benedetto, 2006). 

Throughout these activities, there is a dynamic and 

complex flow of information on business strategies, 

requirements and market trends, technological 

alternatives and resource allocation. At this stage 

important decisions are made, because that is where 

top management of companies evaluates the strategic 

and financial attractiveness of the project, and whether 

these adequately complement the current product 

portfolio. Thus, bad decisions at this stage may result 

in failures in the performance and results of the new 

product (Mendes & Toledo, 2012).

The consequences of errors committed in the 

pre-development phase can be disastrous and have 

caused problems for large companies considered 

high performance and well structured, for example, 

Xerox (Chesbrough, 2003).

As a result of this alert, there has been publications 

that seek to guide companies in carrying out the 

pre-development activities. Among the publications are 

highlighted further in this article, the works of Clark 

& Wheelwright (1993), Cooper (2001), Koen et al. 

(2002),  Crawford  &  Benedetto  (2006),  Reid  & 

Brentani (2010, 2012), Florén & Frishammar (2013).

However,  according  to  Florén  &  Frishammar 

(2013), although studies on the pre-development have 

evolved in recent years, they are still incomplete and 

does not help effectively in their practical application 

in companies, it is still unclear what activities must 

be performed at this stage, how to perform them and 

control them and what key results are expected from 


This paper has as main objective the systematic 

collection and analysis of models and activities proposed 

by the literature for the conduct of pre-development 

phase, as well as the techniques and tools used for 

the implementation of this phase.

The next section presents a systematic literature 

review of methodology used to survey the state of the 

art models, techniques and pre-development tools.

2 Method

The main technical procedure used for the research, 

identification and analysis of the models, techniques 

and pre-development tools is the Bibliographic 

Systematic Review (BSR), a methodology of specific 

research, formally developed for assessment and 

evaluation of data pertaining to a particular research 

topic. The systematic review model used in this study 

consists of three phases: planning, execution and 

analysis of results (Biolchini et al., 2005). The planning 

phase consists in defining the review objectives and 

its protocol and this protocol is composed by three 

sub-phases: review planning, problem formulation, 

and data collection and evaluation.

The implementation phase involves the initial 

identification  studies,  selection  and  evaluation 

according to the criteria of inclusion and exclusion 

set out in the review protocol established in the 

planning phase. After the selection of the studies in 

the analysis of the results phase, the study data are 

extracted (Biolchini et al., 2005). To assist in the 

systematic literature review were made compilations 

in a database containing titles, keywords, authors and 

dates of publications.

3 Bibliographic systematic review: 

models and predevelopment 


This section is composed by the description of the 

way in which the systematic literature review was 

conducted and the results obtained by following the 

stages of planning, execution and analysis of results.

3.1 Phase I: Review planning

According Brereton et al. (2007) in the planning 

stage should be formulated questions that will guide 

the validation of the protocol review. Its purpose is to 

identify published works on the activities developed in 

the early stages of the product development process. 

For this purpose it has been prepared the research 

protocol containing:

3.1.1 Problem formmulation

The main objective of the review was to run 

survey studies that addressed in general, the main 

models of pre-development, activities, technical 

and pre-development tools. Therefore the initial 

questions were: What are the existing models in the 

literature addressing the management of the new 

products pre-development? What activities compose 

the pre-development? What techniques and tools 

can be used to operationalize the pre-development?

3.1.2 Data collection and evaluation

According to that defined in the previous phase, the 

databases were identified (Science Direct, Emerald

SciELO and Wiley) and the keywords and / or research 

expressions to be used in conducting the review. 

These databases were chosen because they contain 

more works related to the topics studied and because 

they are more related to production engineering, 

management and administration. It was observed 

Analisis of predevelopment models and activities...


that some authors, although referring as the product 

pre-development stage, they adopted terms such as 

front end of innovationthe front end of new product 

development. These expressions were then included 

in the research terms, as Chart 1 shows.

Following similar claim brought by Biolchini et al. 

(2005) and Pigosso & Rozenfeld (2011), logical 

expressions have been used to combine the keywords 

and their synonyms for best results, including, models

toolspracticestechniques (models, tools, practices 

and techniques). During the research new keywords 

have arisen because the pre-development activities 

envolve marketing areas, product development, quality 

management and among others, which makes it fairly 

complex and dynamic. This planning stage have been 

found 832 works containing the terms or part of the 

terms fuzzy front endfront-endpre development or 

pre-development in titles or abstracts. For the inclusion 

or exclusion of the articles were first evaluated the 

titles and abstracts. Those who were not related to 

product development or the pre - development were 

excluded. Thus, articles 352 papers were initially 

excluded. Of these, 88 were not related to product 

pre - development and they were raised by the 

seeking in the title part of the expressions used in the 

researches as “fuzzy, front, development”. The other 

264 just mentioned the product pre - development in a 

superficial manner, with emphasis on the development 

stage and not addressing specific pre-development 

practices. After the first filter 480 works remained.

3.1.3 Analysis and interpretation of data

Once the publications were selected, this stage 

involved the extraction of relevant and pertinent 

data for the purpose of systematic review and data 

representation standards were used in the evaluation 

protocol and the criteria for the classification 

(Biolchini et al., 2005). To facilitate the search of 

the selected studies it was created a sheet containing: 

work title, keywords, year of publication and author’s 

name. This  procedure  allowed  the  identification 

and exclusion of duplicated papers, thus, they were 

available in different databases, such as SciELO 

and Emerald.

3.2 Phase II: Implementation

In this second phase were evaluated in the remaining 

480 articles, abstracts that include the established 

terms. After reading these abstracts 225 works 

were excluded among chapters of books, papers, 

theses or dissertations that contemplated the product 

development process as a whole and not focused 

in the initial stages. Subsequently, were performed 

two  more  filters  analyzing  the  introduction  and 

closing remarks, being excluded respectively over 

132 and 55 works.

After this process were finally selected 68 works. 

The analysis of these selected works indicated the need 

for reading new works that do not specifically were 

about the product pre - development, but activities 

carried out in these phases and as well as more details 

on the techniques and the tools used to operationalize 

such activities. This way new search mode was 

performed and reaching over 61 works, however, 

due to size limitations and rules in the magazine 

will not be detailed here, but the same procedures 

BSR have been followed. Since then, were selected 

and analyzed 129 works including books, papers, 

dissertations and theses related to pre-development 

and activities in the pre-development phase.

3.3 Phase III: Analysis of the results of 


The identified papers (129) are distribuited in 

this manner: 74 are articles published in journals or 

scientific journals, 40 are among books or book chapters, 

6 are papers published in national and international 

conferences, 5 are national and international PhD 

Thesis, 2 are papers published in specialized websites 

and 2 dissertations.

Chart 1. Terms adopted for the pre- development.

Terms Adopted


Fuzzy Front End/ Front End

Khurana & Rosenthal (1997); Kim & Wilemon (2002); Alam 

(2003); Reid & Brentani (2004, 2010); Frishammar et al. (2011, 

2012); Kurkkio (2011); Reid & Brentani (2012); Florén & 

Frishammar (2013).

Front End of Innovation

Koen et al. (2001, 2002); Poskela & Martinsuo (2009); Poskela 

& Martinsuo (2009); Teza (2012).

Front End of New Product Development

Oliveira & Rozenfeld (2011).


Cooper (1988); Mendes & Toledo (2012); Costa & Toledo 

(2013, 2015).

Source: The author.

Costa, M. A. B. et al.


Gest. Prod.

,  São  Carlos     

Figure 1 shows the evolution of the pre-development 

related publications in the period from 1984 to 2013. 

This period comprises 29 years, however in only 

25 publications were identified. Considering 29 years, 

the  average  of  publications  per  year  is  of  4.45. 

Considering the years in which there was effectively 

publications the average is of 5.16. The peaks of 

publications occurred in the years of 98, 2001, 2002, 

2006, 2012.

As shown in Figure 2, based on the average of 

publications (only in years in which there were 

publications) in the decades: from 1980 to 1989 

Figure 1. Amount publications per year.

Figure 2. Simple average of publications by decade.

Analisis of predevelopment models and activities...


(with the exception that in this decade publications 

occurred only between 1884 e1987); 2000-2009; 

and 2010-2013, the averages are respectively of: 

1.0; 4.1; 6.8, 7.75, indicating upward trend in the 

number of publications.

This increase may reflect the growing importance 

of issues such as innovation for companies. 

The pre-development phase is directly linked to 

the discoveries issues, creativity and feasibility 

(technical,  commercial,  financial)  and  therefore, 

arouses the interest of both companies as researchers, 

since the proper management of their activities may 

influence the success of new products and reduce 

development costs.

As shown in Figure 3, Robert G. Cooper is the 

author with the most number of publications on the 

subject, for the period corresponding to the 1984 

2013. For best visualization of this evolution, the 

decades were analyzed until the year 2013. The Cooper 

works in addition to defining a set of activities for 

pre-development, also suggest techniques to assist in 

performing these activities, such as brainstorming, 

interviews with employees and customers, leading 

users, and feasibility analysis in all activities, from 

identifying opportunities to concept test.

The journals that most published on the subject 

were: Journal of Product Innovation Management

Research  Technology  Management  and  R  &  D 

Management, see Figure 4. However, were found in 

smaller amounts publications in several other journals.

It has been found in studies that there are 10 different 

models for pre-development proposed by the authors 

cited in Chart 2. These models will be discussed 

in section 3.3.1. Noting, however, the country of 

origin of the models and more specifically of the 

authors who developed the patterns analyzed, as can 

be seen in Chart 2, there is a U.S. predominance, 

however, as the topic is current, emerging and it 

has been significant for companies and researchers, 

it is possible to observe researches also focused on 

pre-development in Canada and Europe.

3.3.1 Analysis of selected publications

After reading the selected Works it was verified the 

existence of 10 models that suggests ways considered 

effective for management of pre-development activities. 

These models have been proposed by the authors: 

Cooper (1988), Murphy & Kumar (1997), Khurana 

& Rosenthal (1998), Koen et al. (2001), Flynn et al. 

(2003), Boeddrich (2004), Reid & Brentani (2004, 

2012), Whitney (2007), Brem & Voigt (2009) Kurkkio 

(2011) and suggest activities that orientate the phase 

conduction, as this is considered complex and difficult 

to systematize by the companies, as well as to list 

tools in the literature or practice of the companies 

that can assist in carrying out the activities.

Cooper (1988) proposed a model consisted of three 

stages: Stage I involves activities of generating and 

screening ideas. Stage II involves the preliminary 

analysis of market activities. The Stage III begins with 

Figure 3. Publications by authors in the period considered (1984-2013).

Costa, M. A. B. et al.


Gest. Prod.

,  São  Carlos     

the activity of identification concept, and it ends with 

the assessment of the key concept for the decision 

whether to continue the project. Murphy & Kumar 

(1997) proposed a model for the pre-development 

divided into three stages: idea generation, product 

definition  and  project  analysis. The  model  was 

constructed from data obtained by the authors, 

through a survey of 53 employees among production 

managers, marketing and product engineering from 

15 leading technology companies, integrated circuit 

board producers in Ontario, Canada.

In the model of Khurana & Rosenthal (1998) 

pre - development consists of three phases: “Pre-Phase 

Zero,” where opportunities are identified and ideas 

generated, based on technical analysis and market 

developments; “Phase Zero”, wherein the product 

concept is elaborated and “Phase One” in which 

the technical and market feasibility is evaluated, in 

addition to being made project planning.

The model Koen et al. (2001) is the result of a 

survey conducted by the Industrial Research Institute 

(IRT), Texas (USA), together with eight companies 

(Air Products, Akzo Nobel, BOC, DuPont, Exxon, 

Henkel, Mobil and Uniroyal Chemical) in order to 

consolidate a list of best practices to be held in the 

early stages of the product development process by 

Figure 4. Publications for journals.

Analisis of predevelopment models and activities...


providing a common language and a set of planning 

innovation activities. It was developed from the need 

identified by the authors to provide greater clarity to 

the pre-development. It consists of three dimensions: 

the first covers the aspects of leadership, culture and 

business strategy. The business strategy drives the 

other key phases. The second considers the stages 

of pre-development: identifying opportunities to the 

concept definition. The third dimension comprises the 

influencing factors in the pre-development performance 

(organizational capabilities, factors external to the 

company, technological innovation etc.), under which 

the companies do not have full control.

Whereas the growth capacity of an organization 

depends  on  its  ability  to  generate  and  explore 

new  ideas  for  their  own  benefit  and  long-term, 

Flynn  et  al.  (2003)  proposed  a  model  divided 

into  4 phases:  strategic  direction;  environmental 

scanning; identifying opportunities and generating 

ideas or management. The strategic direction phase 

defines the guidelines and general strategies of the 

organization. The environmental  scanning  phase 

involves researching and monitoring the internal 

and external environment to start generating ideas, 

resembling goals in the stages of idea generation 

of previous models. The output of this phase is 

a portfolio of potential opportunities that can be 

developed and analyzed to development in the next 

phase, the generation of ideas. In the phase of idea 

generation, the development of the stimulus or initial 

idea (proposed in the previous phase of identifying 

opportunities) in a more specific concept, recognizable 

to be explored in more detail (Flynn et al., 2003).

Also focused on generating ideas during the 

pre-development, Boeddrich (2004) presents a model 

that separates the processes to be performed on one side 

(strategic guidelines, generation and ideas adoption, 

screening of ideas and development of new concepts 

of products) and the organization’s responsibilities 

associated with the other activities (development of 

guidelines by senior management and development 

management, strategic analysis of ideas and choice 

and decision of the best ideas by the cross-functional 

team). Reid & Brentani (2004) proposed a theoretical 

model for the management of pre-development phase 

of new products considered as radical innovation, 

based on the flow of information and decision-making. 

The  model  consists  of  interfaces:  -  i)  boundary 

interface;  ii)  gatekeeping  interface);  iii)  project 

interface that occur during the pre-development and 

are critical to decision making, since the information 

flow from the environment to the organization and 

the organization to key individuals responsible for 

the creation of a new process of ideas and products.

Whitney’s model, (Whitney, 2007), is composed 

of three interfaces represented by: input, output, 

and system environment. The entry are factors that 

stimulate the process as new business goals, customer 

needs and new insights etc. The system environment 

(considered by other authors as activities) consists of 

5 elements: identifying and selecting opportunities; 

generation and selection of ideas; research and 

development; concept synthesis; analysis and control. 

The output is a concept in the synthesis ready for 

the development itself. Established the framework 

for the pre-development, Whitney (2007) focuses 

attention on the mechanisms (tools and techniques) 

used to operationalize the process.

Brem & Voigt (2009), developed a model based on 

the tunnel of ideas for the development of products 

proposed by Deschamps et al. (1995), however, other 

elements were added to the initial model including 

a bank to save ideas that were not appropriate at 

the moment, but that could be used in the future. 

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