Inderscience Publishers

Integrating market and technological knowledge in the fuzzy front end: an FCM-based action support system

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The early phases of product development - the so-called fuzzy front end - are ill supported by traditional tools and methods for new product development (NPD). Based on a thorough investigation of the activities, challenges and strategies associated with these NPD stages, the paper identifies requirements for front-end management. It then discusses current approaches for support tools and systems. Based on the identified strengths and weaknesses of existing front-end solutions, a framework for a management support system of fuzzy front-end activities is presented. Conceptually, it is based on psychological findings about the process of action regulation in complex decision situations. Methodologically, it uses Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs) for modelling and simulation.

Keywords: product development, NPD, fuzzy front end, action regulation, Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs), modelling

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