Reasoning in the fuzzy front end of innovation: Framing the product DNA

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Designing a remarkable product innovation is a difficult challenge, which businesses today are continuously striving to tackle. This challenge is particularly present in the fuzzy front end of innovation, where the main product concept, the DNA of the innovation, is determined. A main challenge in the fuzzy front end is the reasoning process: innovation teams are faced with open-ended, ill-defined problems, where they need to make decisions about an unknown future but have only incomplete, ambiguous and contradicting insights available. We study the reasoning of experts, how they frame to make sense of all the insights and create a basis for decision-making in relation to a new project. Based on case studies of five innovative products from various industries, we propose a Product DNA model for understanding the reasoning in the fuzzy front end of innovation. The Product DNA Model explains how experts reason and what direct their reasoning.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1840001
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation Management
Issue number5
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Fuzzy front end of innovation
  • decision-making
  • design
  • framing
  • product DNA
  • reasoning

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