The Influence of Collaborative Information Technology Tool Usage on NPD

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Marion, Tucker (1); Fixson, Sebastian (2)
Series: ICED
Institution: Northeastern University
Section: Collaborative Design
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


Information Technology (IT) and the process of new product development (NPD) have become completely intertwined. From computer-aided-design (CAD) to video conferencing to traditional tools like email, the act of design, iterating and communicating with team members is touched at every point in the process by IT. Over the last ten years, new, collaborative information technology (CIT) has entered into the NPD process to make the activity of communication and team information sharing easier, more frequent, and distributed. What is not known is how these tools are influencing the design process itself. This research uses a longitudinal multi-method, ethnographic approach to deep dive into actual use cases. Our results indicate that CIT can have a substantial impact on NPD, but does not automatically alleviate traditional problems during NPD. We also find that the propagation of tools via new firms startups has developed a single tool per task paradigm, which is counter to the development of complex platforms offered by established firms. These single use tools are easily adopted but also easily discarded by development teams.

Keywords: New product development, Collaborative design, Information management


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