Key Factors that Enable Product Development: An Investigation of Creating “Cool” Products
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Full Description:

The Center for Automotive Research has undertaken the CAR-Microsoft Program on Automotive Industry Practices. The program is a four-year research effort consisting of indepth, focused interviews with industry participants on subjects of importance to all industry stakeholders. The intent of this paper is to investigate how different companies have adapted their product development processes to the changing competitive climate and how they utilize new technologies (e.g., weblogs, internet chat rooms, and other such digital communications) to transform their vision into products. The focus is not on the tools or the specific strategies, but rather on the information channels product design teams use for inspiration and understanding the market and on how the product design teams work together to create “cool” products.

This report uses case studies—three automotive and one non-automotive—to illustrate how companies have attempted to proactively create innovative products. Given the relatively small number of interviews, this report is not intended to provide a complete description of the topic. Instead, by selecting companies that are thought leaders in a specific topic, CAR hopes these case studies will be viewed as indicative and that the conclusions drawn will contribute to the greater understanding of the issues and challenges.

This study was sponsored by Microsoft Corporation.

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