Managing CoDesign in dynamic alliance networks

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The research described in this thesis develops ways to support creativity in dynamic business networks. Businesses in a business network are organized to bring their knowledge and assets together to develop new services and products. Traditionally business networks were stable. However, the changing nature of the business environment calls for new knowledge, which is increasingly met by bringing in new businesses with the new knowledge into the network and often changing the network structure. At the same time greater creativity and innovation are needed to address the emerging problems. Consequently, networks must create the environment that supports members from businesses working together to combine their knowledge to create innovative solutions. The design process is thus becoming increasingly collaborative as product design emerges as new ideas emerge. There is more emphasis on supporting collaborative design (CoDesign) where individuals and teams from different disciplines, including customers, consumers and users work together in the design process. Although CoDesign itself is now well-understood, how to manage it within a dynamic networking environment given greater emphasis on privacy and knowledge is still not well understood. The research described in this thesis will contribute to knowledge of how to integrate business networking arrangements with CoDesign while maintaining knowledge sharing and privacy. To do this we have developed a model that will contribute to knowledge of how to integrate business networking arrangements with CoDesign and enable knowledge sharing and privacy. To develop the model we have analysed existing business network structures, classified them by a set of concepts and developed a model that covers existing practices, integrates structure with CoDesign and supports dynamic change to networking arrangements. The model is made up of two levels – the business networking level and the design level. The business networking level defines the responsibilities of businesses and the privacy constraints. In the model, teams are created across the businesses and organisations. The design level is where these teams carry out CoDesign. The model describes ways for such networks to change as people in businesses join and resign over the time and the governance structures to preserve privacy. The design level is facilitated by providing people in businesses with an environment to create and share knowledge for CoDesign. Knowledge management related research has been investigated as the CoDesign process is considered knowledge management intensive. In the networking level the model defines spaces where people in businesses join and agree on collaborative activities. In the creativity level those people are provided with tools where they can create and share knowledge. In the thesis we show how Design Thinking tools are introduced to support creativity in the CoDesign process. However, the model can support any tools needed for some special problem. Maintaining privacy is considered where rules and policies are defined to control accessing the knowledge and other components. The model has been defined and a prototype has been implemented to evaluate the model by following the qualitative method. The model has been evaluated by conducting semi-structured interviews with experts. The experts agree that the model supports creativity in the dynamic business networks. However, their advice for future work and development should be considered.
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