Effectual customer co-creation in the fuzzy front end of new product development

Ko, Gui Han (2017) Effectual customer co-creation in the fuzzy front end of new product development. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Increasingly, customer co-creation is advocated as a means to generate valuable knowledge in the innovation process and enhance new product development (NPD) success. In particular, customer co-creation activities are considered to minimize the “fuzziness” of the front end of NPD. However, there is a dearth of research regarding how firms effectively utilize customer co-creation activities in the fuzzy front end (FFE) of NPD. The thesis applies a novel framing using effectuation theory, referring to a logic of entrepreneurial expertise – a dynamic and interactive process of creating new artefacts in the world – to investigate co-creation in the FFE of NPD.

This thesis, firstly, seeks to assess how co-creation activities, in comparison to traditional market research activities, relate to the creativity of the product concept. Secondly, it examines the way effectuation logic strengthens the co-creation-early performance (i.e. FFE) relationship. The inquiry develops a conceptual framework together with hypothesized relationships, around focal constructs. These are as follows; customer co-creation activities, traditional customer facing activities, effectuation, creativity of the product concept, and early performance. The hypotheses are tested vis-à-vis the direct relationship between customer co-creation activities and the creativity of the product concept, and between creativity of the product concept and early performance. The study also compares the effect of customer co-creation activities with traditional customer facing activities. Furthermore, a mediation role of creativity of the product concept is tested, followed by the testing of a moderation and a moderated mediation role of effectuation.

A large scale cross-sectional survey was conducted using UK and US medium and large sized firms with experience of customer co-creation in the FFE of NPD. 205 usable responses were finally prepared for data analysis. The measurement model was carefully assessed by using the PLS-SEM approach, since the conceptual model included both formative and reflective measures. In testing the hypotheses, PLS-SEM and PROCESS Macro approaches were rigorously applied.

The results, firstly, highlight that the use of customer co-creation activities is positively related to the development of highly creative concepts at the FFE of NPD. Secondly, they demonstrate that effectuation plays an important role when firms use customer co-creation activities by enhancing the creativity of product concept. Its impact also increases early performance when firms develop highly creative product concepts. Additionally, results show that an effectuation approach is particularly beneficial for medium sized firms working on incremental innovation projects.

Based on these empirical results, the thesis theoretically strengthens the customer co-creation paradigm by conceptualizing customer co-creation activities, as well as examining their impact on the creativity of the product concept. Moreover, the thesis contributes to the advancement of knowledge of effectuation by applying it to the FFE of NPD context. Not only enhancing generalizability of effectuation, but the results also highlight the linkage between effectuation and customer co-creation activities.

In practice, this research provides NPD professionals with valuable insights. Specifically, these include: (1) on when to use specific type of customer co-creation activities in the FFE of NPD, (2) the importance on focusing on measuring creativity of the product concept at the FFE of NPD, and (3) the advantages of adopting effectuation logic for firms in developing highly creative concepts during the FFE of NPD.

Finally, the thesis discusses opportunities for future research and the limitations of this study.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Roberts, Deborah
Perks, Helen
Keywords: co-creation, fuzzy front end, effectuation, new product development, creativity
Subjects: H Social sciences > HF Commerce
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 48113
Depositing User: Ko, Gui Han
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2017 04:40
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 12:17
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/48113

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