10 Barriers to Effective Communication

To achieve effective communication, to better manage people.

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Manage creative people by respecting each idea

The main content of this article is that the author discovers a contradiction between executives and young employees in the company. The paradox is that executives are frustrated that recent hires and young staff are overly eager for more responsibility. At the same time, young employees are frustrated by the fact that they are not given enough growth opportunities.


According to this contradiction, the author offers three ways to sort the contradiction (Dean, 2015).

  • Embed the practice of leadership as a discipline across all levels
  • Actively develop young employees to accelerate organizational learning
  • Focus creative tension by forming “special-ops” teams to make organization improvements

I think this article is more suitable to be released at the beginning of the project, because the first point about cooperation and communication is very useful for us. Now I’ll talk about the author’s first solution in detail.


It is very interesting that the author think about a creative team as a brain and each member of the team as individual neurons. He attached the importance to the environment in which neurons lives. He said, “If the environment is healthy, relationships among people are stronger. If relationships are strong, each interaction is more effective” (Dean, 2015). From this, we can see that an effective people management ensures that the company is innovative. Because the centre of every project is people. People are who can provide a continuously creative ideas for the company.


In cooperation, in an environment that everyone is brave enough to express their opinions, then it will be healthy environment to create innovation. By this standard, our group is a very healthy place for innovative ideas. Each of us provided our own ideas for the project enthusiastically, which is why our cooperation is very smooth. But think about it, why should we all dare to express it? Because each of us has a positive attitude towards other people’s ideas, we do not easily negate others. One of the qualities that a good people management should have that is not to say no to any idea in the creative process. It enables everyone dare to say what they think and be happy to say what they think.



Dean, C. (2015) Developing the Next Generation of Creative Leaders. Design Management Review, Vol 26:3 pp.44-49



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How to keep your team motivated?

Kellogg School of Management. (2015) How to keep your team motivated. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9LSopkLbpw (Accessed: 28 May 2018)

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What role does people management have in innovation and NPD processes?


Learn how to manage people and be a better leader

Ramaswamy, V. and Gouillart, F. (2010) Building the Co-Creative Enterprise.

According to the authors, the modern enterprise human resource management is based on the human resources of the enterprise and studies how to realize the rational allocation of enterprise resources. It breaks through the constraints of traditional labor and personnel management, and no longer regards people as a kind of technical element. Instead, it regards people as having an inherent constructive potential factor, which is regarded as deciding the survival and development of enterprises, and is always full of vitality. Special resources with vitality. Instead of placing people under strict supervision and control, they provide them with various conditions for the creation of their subjective initiative and the full potential of their labor potential (Smith, 2017).


We must shift from the thing-centered management to the people-centered management, pay more attention to the development of human resources, pay more attention to the input of human resources, improve the utilization of human resources, and realize the long-term goals of the company’s core competitiveness and sustainable development.


Talent is the carrier of science and technology, the invention and creator of science and technology, and the user and communicator of advanced science and technology. If science and technology are the primary productive forces, then talent is a special element in the elements of productivity. Talent is not only renewable resources, sustainable resources, but also capital resources. In modern enterprises and economic development, talent is an incalculable capital, a kind of capital that can bring huge benefits to the company. Talent development as a resource is an inevitable economic development. Only relying on the innovation and reform of talents’ intelligence factors, enterprises rely on scientific and technological progress to carry out planned talent resource development, and use human intelligence capabilities as a huge resource for excavation and utilization, so as to achieve scientific and technological progress and economic growth. Enterprises must create a good environment suitable for attracting talents and cultivating talents. They must establish a human resources development mechanism that is based on merits, rewards for performance, and training on an as-needed basis to attract talented people, retain talents, and meet the needs of enterprises’ economic development and competition. Need to achieve rapid economic development of the enterprise.


The goal of corporate talent resources is to attract, nurture, and use people, tap potential, and stimulate vitality. Enterprises should closely focus on the objectives of economic development, take the development of human resources as the fundamental task, and fundamentally solve the problem of talent development and utilization.

  1. Accelerate the establishment of a management system that adapts to the growth of all types of talents. According to the requirements of the market economy system, deepen the reform of the company’s personnel system and accelerate the establishment of a new talent management system that suits the growth characteristics of various talents. It is necessary to build four teams of high-quality leaders, management and management personnel, professional and technical personnel, and skilled workers, establish distinctive classification management systems, attach importance to the cultivation and selection of creative talents and compound talents, and build up The new concept of employing talents, focusing on performance, and contributing to the promotion of entrepreneurship, encouraging innovation, and encouraging competition.
  2. Increase investment in talent education and training. Enterprises should use training and education functions to make the company a “learning organization,” and focus on improving the creative and creative abilities of all types of talents. High-tech and high-investment measures should be taken in the training of enterprises, so that the talent capital of enterprises will continue to increase. Increasing the investment in talent training and education can not only meet the needs of the company’s economic development, but also satisfy the talented person’s thirst for career development and personal improvement. Such investment will obtain a higher return than matter, and this return will have a long Efficiency and over-cost.
  3. Improve the motivation for talents. Incentives are the core of talent development in modern companies. Whether or not the potential of human resources can be played and to what degree it can be played depends, to a certain extent, on the motivation of talents. In the introduction and use of talents, enterprises must actively study the impact of individual needs and institutions on individual satisfaction, and the mechanisms that can generate various incentives. The principles for the income and treatment of talents, their position responsibilities and performance, and contributions should be formulated. The post, task-by-task, pay-for-performance distribution system encourages technology, management, and other factors of production to participate in the distribution of income, maximizing the enthusiasm of talent, and ultimately achieving a double harvest of corporate economic development and human resource development.

Another useful video: The Top 5 People Management Skills


Dean, C. (2015) Developing the Next Generation of Creative Leaders. Design Management Review, Vol 26:3 pp.44-49

Project Management Videos. (2013) The Top 5 People Management Skills. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_NdZdOJpkk (Accessed: 29 May 2018)

Ramaswamy, V. and Gouillart, F. (2010) Building the Co-Creative Enterprise. Harvard Business Review, Oct, pp. 100-109

Smith, D. A. (2017) People Management Skills – Ultimate Guide – Managing People. Available at: https://www.makingbusinessmatter.co.uk/people-management-skills-ultimate/ (Accessed: 28 May 2018)

Workforce Singapore. (2013) Learn how to manage people and be a better leader. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWmhl6rzVpM (Accessed: 27 May 2018)


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The role of people management in innovation and NPD processes

In Ramaswamy and Gouillart’s article, the authors stated the importance of co-creation for a company. Co-creation should be conducted with stakeholders, who are related to the company such as suppliers, employees, consumers etc. Unlike traditional business design strategy which takes economic as a priority, co-creation strategy can satisfy different stakeholders need and make a mutual benefit.

In the meanwhile, Dean (2015) discuss the tension among teamwork in the company. Tension sometimes can be beneficial, while sometimes would become passive influence so as to reduce cohesion and productivity. Therefore, 3 suggestions were proposed to avoid  passive situation. Including embed leadership at all levels, develop young employees, focus creative tension by forming special-ops team.

From my perspectives, the voice from different parts should be heard in NPD and innovation process, which can help to stimulate creative ideas. Co-creation is not limited to working with one type of stakeholders, such as designers and consumers work together to design a new collection. It also can combine multiple stakeholders together, such as DHL has teamed up with citizens, academics, politicians and public authorities together to reduce traffic pollution (Kazadi et al., 2015). The co-creation of different stakeholders can provide opportunities for the brand to make unique innovation, as creative ideas are generated, and different resources are gathered together because of the ability of different stakeholders to access various areas. There is a report shows that the key drivers for the company to participate with multiple stakeholders is to build up the relationship and enhance reputation (Pera et al., 2016). It is a win-win collaboration. Stakeholders can have more understanding of the company so as to increase trust, while the company can collect direct information through interaction with stakeholders instead of market research (Watchadmin, 2017).

Building a network is an effective way to connect different people together. Take Burberry as an example, the brand regards itself as a social enterprise that suppliers, employees and customers can share the same experience (CVC, 2015). It launches a platform named Burberry World that creates a mini-community. In-store employees can interact with customers and have access to see customers’ social media post and activities. While customers can create a conversation on lifestyle, fashion topics. In this way, the brand can collect useful data from customers which can be helpful for brand development, while customers can gain more information about brand activities and product information.

However, such co-creation would face some conflicts and difficulties due to the communication difficulty and distrust between different stakeholders, as well as different priorities, objectives, and values (Whizlabs, 2014). Therefore, the company should try to make a balance between different expectations.

In addition, the two articles mention the importance of young employees and junior employees to stimulate creativity and innovation. The reason why their voices is so useful is that they are usually in the beginning level in the company, they can view in a new perspective and can find problems easily. While those experienced employees may become stereotype as they are familiar with the process and hard to come up with new opinions. However, older employees have more professional skills and experience in dealing with the difficulties.

The generation conflict usually occurred in the company and increase tension. Therefore, it is necessary for the company to manage the relationship between young employees and older employees. Managers should understand different generations’ modes of working and combine their own strength into a teamwork (Wloczewski, 2014). In the meanwhile, mutual understanding of each generation is important, communication between two generation can also help to release the tension.

To sum up, people management is important in innovation and NPD process, companies should have an effective management among different people to build up a successful business.





ConsumerValueCreation (2015) Burberry world: Co-creation in the fashion industry. Available at: https://consumervaluecreation.com/2015/04/04/burberry-world-co-creation-in-the-fashion-industry/ (Accessed by: 28 May 2018)

Kazadi, K., Lievens, A. and Mahr, D. (2016). Stakeholder co-creation during the innovation process: Identifying capabilities for knowledge creation among multiple stakeholders. Journal of Business Research, 69(2), pp.525-540.

Pera, R., Occhiocupo, N. and Clarke, J. (2016). Motives and resources for value co-creation in a multi-stakeholder ecosystem: A managerial perspective. Journal of Business Research, 69(10), pp.4033-4041.

Watcadmin (2017) How to use co-creation successfully. Available at: http://whataboutthecustomer.com/co-creation/how-to-use-co-creation-successfully/ (Accessed by: 28 May 2018)

Whizlabs, (2014) How to manage stakeholders’ conflicts. Available at: https://www.whizlabs.com/blog/how-to-manage-stakeholders-conflicts/ (Accessed by: 28 May 2018)

Wloczewski, C. (2014) Generational Conflict in the Workplace. Available at: http://www.cellaconsulting.com/blog/generational-conflict-workplace/ (Accessed by: 28 May 2018)


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Co-creation and our project

Ramaswamy and Gouillard (2010) argues the fact that customer experience is in direct variation with the experience of internal stakeholders is usually ignored. In order to design successful experiences for customers, companies should focus on developing their internal stakeholders’ (such as employees, suppliers, distributors, regulators) experiences (Ramaswamy and Gouillard, 2010). In contrast to traditional design process, co-creation process offers a joint way develop experiences of all stakeholders (including customers) which increases productivity and creativity within the companies (Ramaswamy and Gouillard, 2010).
However, for this project a successful co-creation to be applied would take time and as we are aiming to launch collection on October 2019, which is Beat’s tech-fashion collection. Therefore, co-creation would be more successful if beats want to launch another collection in 2020 which would give our members to design an effective co-creation system as I believe co creation would increase value of our future collections. Co-creation’s advantages can not be ignored.


Ramaswamy, V. and Gouillart, F. (2010) Building the Co-Creative Enterprise. Harvard Business Review, Oct, pp. 100-109

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How important are social networks for innovation and NPD processes?

According to Roberts and Piller (2016), many companies are not aware of  improving their new product or service development processes by incorporating social networks, which enable them to build deeper relationships between organisations. However, taking advantage of social factors to support innovation and NPD processes is an effective opportunity for the company.

Leenders and Dolfsma (2015) suggest that social networks can be various on the basis of its internally multilevel – from individuals to nations or even geographic regions. Therefore, they classify the analysis into four main levels – ‘networks within organizations, networks that cross the boundary of the organization, interorganizational networks, and networks surrounding the organization.’

In terms of the ‘Intraorganizational Networks and Innovation’ (Leenders and Dolfsma, 2015).  The way that team members work together is a critical factor in their NPD success. And each member as part of a team has his/her role to play in such processes.  Any member of a team should attach importance to professionalism and leadership no matter whether the role he/she plays is officially management leadership or not. And for those who cannot take any responsibility for the decisions of others within a team – they can complete the responsibilities for their own actions.Community interactions in the NPD process can benefit both the creation and evaluation of design ideas (Wu, et al., 2017). Moreover, team members are able to exchange information and create new knowledge and insight, through effective communications that building upon the collective knowledge of others,  (Reagans and Zuckerman, 2001). The NPD innovation ability normally brings together organisations of diverse people from all across an enterprise. Thus, it can be  reinforced by appropriately organised communications among team members.


(Source: An Overview of The Factors of Success for New Product Development, 2018,

Available at: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/an-overview-of-the-factors-of-success-for-new-product-development)



When it comes to ‘Innovation Networks Crossing Organizational Boundaries’, organizations can involve various kinds of  partners in their NPD processes — such as users, customers, suppliers, etc. As Roberts and Piller (2016) suggest, that ‘Consultants and academics alike have been touting social media as a resource for innovation and new product development — a vehicle for developing customer insights, accessing knowledge, co-creating ideas and concepts with users, and supporting new product launches.’ For instance, Net-a-Porter, the online fashion retailer released its first social network in 2015 for consumers to show their personal style and shop luxury fashion via mobile devices. As they noticed that consumers are increasingly shopping on smartphones or tablets. ‘The application shows how Net-a-Porter is seeking to widen its influence and extract more value out of its more than 6 million unique monthly visitors through’ (Bloomberg, 2015). This case further suggest that social networks driven open innovation activities focused on gathering market insights enhance customer focus directly, while social media driven open innovation activities that garner technical expertise enhance the link between customer focus and NPD performance. (Du et al., 2016) In particular, the utilization of social media technologies like blogs constitutes a widely used and powerful means of inbound open innovation activities, enabling a firm to effectively acquire and leverage external knowledge (Mount and Martinez, 2014; West and Bogers, 2014).

‘Networks and Innovation in Markets’ usually means the networks for individuals. And user networks can be as influencial as inventor networks on innovation and NPD processes (Leenders and Dolfsma, 2015; West and Bogers, 2013). Which means they can measure or develope the innovations due to the extensive open source model. Here are some examples:

(Source: LEGO® Large Creative Brick Box, 2016)

Lego company provides customer this creative box with a wide range of bricks in different colours and types, which allow customers to develop their own open-ended creativity. At the same time, the users also give feedback and inspiration to the company in turn.




In all,  the social network tools discussed above could have a positive impact on the development phase of the NPD process of our MFP project.





An Overview of The Factors of Success for New Product Development (2018) Available at: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/an-overview-of-the-factors-of-success-for-new-product-development (Accessed: 3 May 2018).

Bloomberg. (2015) Net-a-Porter Creates Social Network for Mobile Luxury Shopping. Available at: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-analysis/net-a-porter-creates-social-network-for-mobile-luxury-shopping (Accessed: 2 May 2018).

Du, S., Yalcinkaya, G., and Bstieler, L. (2016) ‘Sustainability, social media driven open innovation, and new product development performance’, Product Development & Management Association. 33(S1), pp.55-71.

West, J., and M. Bogers. 2014. Leveraging external sources of innovation: A review of research on open innovation. Journal of Product Innovation Management 31 (4): 814–31.

Wu, J., Kim, A. J., Chen, L., Johnson, K. K. P. (2017) ‘Attitudes toward crowdsourced, community-involved new product development’, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, 21(4), pp.453-467.

Leenders, R., T., A., J., and Dolfsma, W., A. (2016) ‘Social networks for innovation and new product development’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 33(2), pp.123-131.

Lego. (2016) LEGO® Large Creative Brick Box. Available at: https://shop.lego.com/en-GB/LEGO-Large-Creative-Brick-Box-10698 (Accessed: 2 May 2018).

Mount, M. P., and M. G. Martinez. 2014. Social media: A tool for open innovation. California Management Review, 56 (4), pp. 124–43.

Moon, F., M. (2014) ‘Social networks in the history of innovation and invention’, New York: Springer.

Roberts, D. L. and Piller, F. T. (2016) ‘Finding the right role for social media in Innovation’, MITSloan Management Review, 57(3), pp. 40-48.

Reagans, R., and E. W. Zuckerman. 2001. ‘Networks, diversity, and produc- tivity: The social capital of corporate R&D teams.’ Organization Science, 12 (4), pp. 502–17.


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Influencer marketing- What is the relevance of working with influencers?

Social media is now an inevitable part of our lives. This new world added new platforms to our lives with new types of interactions, marketing and engagement. Back then before social media, we used to see celebrities of that time like Madonna, Michael Jackson, etc. on the traditional media. These were the people who were used to keep up with emerging trends and lifestyles and get inspirations from what they were wearing, eating or doing. Later there was Web 2.0 trend which was the birth of blogging and bloggers.  We have seen people like one of us writing and inspiring. But now with the rise of on social media platforms, especially Instagram, we now have influencers which are not in the same category with celebrities Kardashians, Hadids or other Hollywood stars. These celebrities are living lives which are unreachable by many of consumers due to financial and social concerns. Consumers do not go to MET Gala or Cannes every year like them. Influencers have showed us a new engagement for inspiration which is more down to earth. These influencers do not have unlimited budgets like celebrities, they use same bag more than once for their styling and combines low-end brands with premium brands- diversity of content. They reflect a more reachable perspective of glamorous lives.

In 2016, nearly 85% of marcoms worldwide was expected to use influencers for their marketing strategies and over 80% of companies and brands who have used influencer marketing agreed in it is an effective way of engagement (Emarketer, 2015). When compared with traditional advertising, a study showed that influencer marketing is 11 times more effective (Kirkpatrick, 2016).

Anand Narayanan, Head of Digital at Panasonic UK, stated that influencer marketing is a key factor for marketing strategy (Narayanan, 2018 cited in Salim, 2018). Influencers provides consumers with new perspectives over the brands and their own stories, therefore adding influencers to marketing strategy would strengthen the marketing campaign. (Sammis, Lincoln and Pomponi, 2015) Influencers are a part of consumer engagement and companies should find ways to add them into specific touch points during consumer journey- as consumer journeys provides competitive advantage to companies/brands (Edelman and Singer, 2015).


Reflecting on Sherman’s thoughts, there are two main points that should be considered to add influencers to our marketing strategy:


  • Selecting the right influencer is key in this case since many influencers’ audiences lose interest as the time passes (Sherman, 2017)


  • Influencers should have the freedom to shape the content in the way thay want and show they perspectives, otherwise it would not be an effective campaign (Sherman, 2017). It would look more like an advert.


For our project, we should consider working with influencers on Instagram who are into music and fashion. These influencers can also be DJs, they don’t have to be world known but local DJs in the places where we are planning to have pop up stores would be great.



Edelman, D. C. and Singer, M. (2015) ‘Competing on Customer Journeys.’ Harvard Business Review, 93(11), pp. 88–7.

Emarketer, 2015. Marketers Pair Up with Influencers—and It Works. 9 July.

https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Marketers-Pair-Up-with-Influencersand-Works/1012709#sthash.EJ6mxUJj.dpuf [Accessed 7 May 2018]

Kirkpatrick, D.  2016 “Influencer Marketing Spurs 11 times the ROI over Traditional Tactics: Study.” Marketing Dive. Industry Dive, 6 Apr. 2016. https://www.marketingdive.com/news/influencer-marketing-spurs-11-times-the-roi-over-traditional-tactics-study/416911/ [Accessed 7 May 2018]

Salim, A. ‘Influencer marketing in 2018 will become an integral part of a brand’s marketing mission’: Panasonic. 9 Jan http://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/01/09/influencer-marketing-2018-will-become-integral-part-brand-s-marketing-mission [Accessed 7 May 2018]

Sammis, K, Lincoln, C. and Pomponi, S. (2015) Influencer Marketing For Dummies. E-book. Available at:  https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Wgj9CgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=influencer+marketing++for+dummies+reference&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiN7JrZjPfaAhUJLMAKHeG6Dt0Q6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=influencer%20marketing%20%20for%20dummies%20reference&f=false

Sherman, L. (2017). A Guide to Working with Niche Influencers. The Business of Fashion. 15 November. [Internet] Available at: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/professional/a-guide-to-working-with-niche-influencers [Accessed 1 May 2018]


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How will a marketing perspective influence our product decisions for our project?


Beverland, M., Micheli, P. and Farrelly, F. (2016). Resourceful Sensemaking: Overcoming Barriers between Marketing and Design in NPD. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 33(5), pp.628-648.


This article examines how designers and marketers overcome deep-seated differences in approaching NPD (Di Benedetto, 2012; Verganti, 2011). The good relationship between the marketers and designers has a great influence on the success of NPD (Griffin, 2011; Noble, 2011).The difference between this article and the previous articles is that early articles often focuses on explaining why barriers emerge, this article aims to figure out how to overcome them (Carlile, 2002; Dougherty, 1992).


Firstly, this article demonstrates the natures the conflicts between designers from several aspect. They are Relationship to the environment, Relationship to time and Nature of truth.To summing up these three aspects, designers are more inclined to create new things, while the marketers pay more attention to the existing situation of consumers. Even so, “designers and marketers are capable of creating a common framework of meaning.”(Beverland, Micheli and Farrelly, 2016)

In fact, the two are not contradictory. The following article discusses how to use resourceful sensemaking to effectively alleviate the conflict between the two. This article described three resourceful sensemaking practices that help overcome barriers to IFC and lead to horizon expanding discourse.

To discuss how a marketing perspective will influence our product decisions for our project, it is necessary to figure out what is product decisions.

“Decisions regarding the product, price, promotion and distribution channels are decisions on the elements of the “marketing mix”. It can be argued that product decisions are probably the most crucial as the product is the very epitome of marketing planning.” (Carter, 1997)

Avlonitis and Papastathopoulou (2006) also explored products decisions and made a three-fold classification of product decisions.


Figure 1 Types of product decisions


Source:Avlonitis and Papastathopoulou (2006)


According to this article, I reflect on my own project. Our project is to build new fashion line for a tech brand, Beats. As a result, we can refer to more market data from competitive brands and our less comprehensive primary researches. Because of the lack of pre-brand sales data, our product decisions may not be sufficient in this respect.

In addition, the same person shares the role of market researcher and designer in our project, so our designers have a better understanding of the market. Therefore, the design of our group can well combine the design with the market.

When making decisions about the product type, we took recommendations from consumers and trends. When making decisions about the tangible/physical products, in combination with the popular trend premise, we divergently generates the needs of consumers to create and design our products. Moreover, we are still exploring how to make a better decision of intangible/augmented products.

Because our design is influenced a lot by markets, my concern is whether our design will be a little bit conservative. In our project, designers have the final say on her own work. Based on our position on our company (making innovative fashion and technology products), we value innovation more, we respect designers’ decisions and strive to balance the relationship between market demands and innovation.



Avlonitis, G. and Papastathopoulou, P. (2006). Product and services management. London: Sage Publications.

Benedetto, C. (2012). The JPIM Thought Leadership Symposium. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 29(3), pp.344-348.

Carlile, P.R. (2002). A pragmatic view of knowledge and boundaries: Boundary objects in new product development. Organization science13(4), pp.442-455.

Carter, S. (1997). Global agricultural marketing management. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Dougherty, D. (1992). Interpretive barriers to successful product innovation in large firms. Organization science3(2), pp.179-202.

Griffin, A. (2011). Legitimizing academic research in design: Lessons from research on new product development and innovation. Journal of Product Innovation Management28(3), pp.428-433.

Noble, C.H. (2011). On elevating strategic design research. Journal of Product Innovation Management28(3), pp.389-393.

Verganti, R. (2011). Radical design and technology epiphanies: A new focus for research on design management. Journal of Product Innovation Management28(3), pp.384-388.


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The importance of cross-functional teamwork and social network in NPD

Beverland, M., Micheli, P. and Farrelly, F. (2016). Resourceful Sensemaking: Overcoming Barriers between Marketing and Design in NPD. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 33(5), pp.628-648.

Leenders, R. and Dolfsma, W. (2015). Social Networks for Innovation and New Product Development. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 33(2), pp.123-131.



The two articles emphasize the importance of cross-functional teamwork and social networks in new product success. According to Leenders and Dolfsma (2016), social networks are divided into 4 levels, including intraorganizational networks, crossing organizational boundary network, inter-organizational networks and networks that reside outside of the firm. While another article analyses the solution of overcome barriers in cross-functional teamwork by investigating the perspectives between designers and marketers (Beverland et al., 2016).

The barriers in cross-functional teamwork

One of the biggest barriers that Michael et al. discussed is the communication barrier. Since different role has different knowledge and speciality, it may be difficult for each role to understand so that would cause conflict. To overcome such barrier,Beverland (2016) come up with 3 ideas of resourceful sensemaking, namely exposing, co-optioning and repurposing.

Besides, the conflict will have occurred if the team members have different goal and priority. Since different functions would like to complete their own local goal first and then finish other mission, which may lead to little improvement for the entire project (Millard, 2015). What’s more, as each function has its own leader, the equal role would also cause the conflict (Quick base, 2015). Therefore, in order to achieve the common goal, it is vital for the team to have a leader that can not only take charge of the whole project but also can play a coordinating role (Sarin, 2003).

Furthermore, there is an article that comprehensively analyses the critical success factors for cross-functional teamwork which is worth reading (see fig.1.).

Figure 1: the critical success factors for cross-functional teamwork

(Adapted from Holland, 2000)

The opportunity in cross-functional teamwork

Good cross-functional teamwork can be more productive which increases the speed and quality of the design process. For example, the success of Zara can be contributed to efficient cross-functional teamwork. In Zara’s business model, store managers responsible for gathering customers data and provide the information to the headquarters, where designers, marketers and production planners work together to analyze the trends and customers’ need (Busk, 2014). In this way, Zara can be able to respond quickly within the production process, so as to provide clothes that meet current fashion trend and customers need.

Besides, cross-functional teamwork can improve integration and coordination (Inc, n.d). The MFP project also can be seen as a cross-functional teamwork, which involves different functions such as product manager, designer, buyer, production manager etc. Each role needs to communicate with others when conducting the project. For instance, the buyer needs to discuss fashion trends and product details with the designer while at the meantime buyer needs to team up with merchandiser to conduct range plan. And if there is a conflict, the project manager needs to consider the whole situation and find the balance of each function. By gathering ideas from different functions, the entire project can be viewed in a comprehensive way so as to lead to a successful product development.

The importance of social networks in NPD

As Leenders and Dolfsma (2016) claimed that there is no possibility for an individual that work isolated. One must have a connection with other people in the development of products. The cross-functional teamwork that mentioned above can be regarded as a kind of social network. Besides, the collaboration between two fashion brands can be seen as another kind of social network. Through the interfirm network, companies can gain mutual benefit and strengthen the business. In particular, the social network is vital for those emerging brands which lack financial support and experience. There is a Sydney-based company named Collabosaurus that alliances brands to share the cost and reach wider customers. The collaboration enables niche brands to increase brand awareness so as to gain more customers (Sampson, 2016).

In addition, by working with other companies that share the same goal can help to stimulate inspiration and creativity in product development. New ideas would be leverage and can bring fresh air into product development. Besides, the successful fashion collaborations would always bring hypes and thus increase sales. For example, Uniqlo teamed up with JW Anderson these two seasons to provide new product design, which attracts public attention. The products are sold immediately due to the high promotion (BOF, 2018).

Furthermore, the inter-organizational networks can also help the company to gain complementary resources. In China, there are many clothing wholesale centres, which includes multiple producers. Take Pinghu international trade clothing wholesale centre as an example, it integrates design, fabric supply, production, quality control together, which has more than 3000 producers that export garment to other countries (Learn More China, 2013). The supply chain is integrated, the companies in the wholesale centre can work together and can combine the business together.



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