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Review of supporting and refuting evidence for Innovation Engineering practices

  • Ping Du (a1), Chris Miller (a2), Erin MacDonald (a3) and Paul Gormley (a4)

Innovation Engineering (IE) is an educational training program that presents tools and advice on product innovation in three main categories: Create, idea generation; Communicate, communicating ideas; and Commercialize, selecting ideas to invest in further. The concepts taught in IE include common suggestions for early-stage product innovation. This paper addresses a challenge of implementing the IE program, specifically that it does not provide peer-reviewed sources or adequate data to substantiate its approach. This lack of substantiation limits effective implementation at companies. This paper also takes a step in examining IE’s claims that it is ‘a new science’ and a ‘new field of academic study’, a topic motivated by the Design Science Journal’s aim to serve as the archival venue of science-based design knowledge across multiple disciplines. This paper provides a compilation of academic literature that has tested the tools and advice espoused by IE. Almost all included papers contain test-versus-control experimental evidence. A mix of supporting and refuting evidence was found. Overall, the work provides a useful compilation of evidence-of-effectiveness related to common innovation and design practices that spans different design stages and is applicable for multiple disciplines and industries. This evidence comes from a variety of sources, including design, engineering education, psychology, marketing, and management. The work can also serve as an approach to evaluate overarching approaches to design in general, specifically, testing the foundations by vetting related test-versus-control experimental studies.

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