The ability to innovate is a vital skill for firms wishing to compete in the global marketplace. The development of radical new products is important but much of the research has explored incremental innovation rather than more radical ones. The literature highlights the importance of relationships in the development process but suggests that the role played by relationships would be different for different types of innovation. The research was undertaken in partnership with industry and supported by the EPSRC. The aim of this paper is twofold: to develop an understanding of the issues pertaining to how relationships and networks are developed and managed to ensure the development of successful radical new products; and to build a research platform for future investigation based on some preliminary findings of dyadic interviews in the automotive industry. Issues arising show that relationships are important for NPD, however, significant differences are suggested between those that support incremental innovation and those that support the development of radical new products. The focus on understanding the relationships that lead to successful launches of radical innovations will enable all stakeholders to understand how to develop mutually beneficial relationships that create products with clear competitive advantage.
- radical innovation
- relationships and networks