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The Right Fidelity: Representations That Speed Up Innovation Processes

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Guido Stompff, International Marketing Manager at Océ – A Canon Company; Frido Smulders, Associate Professor Design, Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the School of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology



Innovation, by its nature, is a social activity that requires a range of collaborating actors, each having their expertise. At an interpersonal level, it is hard to share knowledge and develop knowledge (Smulders and Bakker, 2012). Boundary objects are objects that have the capability, in teams and organizations, to transfer, translate, and transform knowledge across difficult barriers such as there are between specialists, departments, or disciplinary functions (Carlile, 2002, 2004; Star and Griesemer, 1989). Consider, for example, a planning board: Even when people do not see each other or communicate, they can still decide what they have to do and when and interact. The term “boundary object”proved to be particularly valuable in the context of new product development (NPD) (Bechky, 2003; Bucciarelli, 1994; Carlile, 2002, 2004; Cook and Brown, 1999; Leonard-Barton, 1995; Levina and Vaast, 2005). Boundary objects for NPD can be sketches, engineering drawings, models, abstract notions, timelines, charts, spreadsheets, and so on.



PUBLISHED: Design Leadership: Design Management in an Era of Disruption (Volume Vol. 10, No. 1) 2015


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