, 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.
Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia São Paulo – IFSP, Rodovia Washington Luís, Km 235, Prédio AT-6, sala 139,
Programa de Pós-graduação em Engenharia de Produção – PPGEP, Departamento de Engenharia de Produção, Universidade Federal
SP, Brazil, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received Nov. 20, 2014 - Accepted Nov. 26, 2015
Financial support: CPNq.
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.
, 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.
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.
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
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?
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
that some authors, although referring as the product
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,
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 end, front-end, pre development or
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
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.
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 &
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
Source: The author.
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,
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.
(with the exception that in this decade publications
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
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,
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
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.
providing a common language and a set of planning
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.