This study empirically investigates a wide array of factors that have been argued to differentiate fast from slow innovation processes from the perspective of the research and development organization. We test the effects of strategic orientation (criteria‐ and scope‐related variables) and organizational capability (staffing‐ and structuring‐related variables) on the speed of 75 new product development projects from ten large firms in several industries. Backward‐elimination regression analysis revealed that (a) clear time‐goals, longer tenure among team members, and parallel development increased speed, whereas (b) design for manufacturability, frequent product testing, and computer‐aided design systems decreased speed. However, when projects were sorted by magnitude of change, different factors were found to influence the speed of radical and incremental projects. Moreover, some factors that sped up radical innovation (e.g., concept clarity, champion presence, co‐location) were found to slow down incremental innovation. Together, the radical and incremental models explain differences in speed better than the general model. This suggests a contingency approach to speeding up innovation. Implications for researchers and managers are discussed.
The Journal of Product Innovation Management – Wiley
Published: May 1, 1999
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