Critical capabilities for effective management of complementarity between product and process innovation: cases from food and drink industry

Dusana Hullova, Chris Simms, Paul Trott, Pavel Laczko

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Abstract

The management of the complementarity between product and process innovation has been discussed for five decades. The most recent advancement in the conceptual development uncovered different extents of complementarities occurring between product and process innovation at the project level. Prior literature suggested that facilitating a better interplay between these two types of innovation holds the potential for the development of a long-lasting competitive advantage. Despite its theoretical and managerial importance, management of new product and process development (NPPD) projects with different extents of complementarity between product and process innovation remains poorly understood. To address this gap, we adopt perspectives from contingency theory and dynamic capabilities. Building upon Hullova, Trott and Simms's (2016) classification of complementarities we investigate the management of different complementarity types in four NPPD projects in the UK food and drink industry. We introduce empirically derived framework for effective management of NPPD projects with different extents of complementarity between product and process innovation. The framework identifies three critical capabilities and associated activities; 1) identifying the complexity and novelty of the project and assessment of internal and external resources and knowledge stocks, 2) deploying the most suitable integration mechanism(s) for the identified complementarity type and 3) leveraging of the knowledge learned and experience acquired during the project. Jointly, these three intertwined capabilities act as a complementarity management tool for product and process development managers, enabling them to manage their NPPD projects portfolios more effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages16
JournalResearch Policy
Volume48
Issue number1
Early online date17 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • Complementarity
  • Product innovation
  • Process innovation
  • Management innovation
  • NPPD project
  • Dynamic capabilities

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