SFU Canada Research Chairs Seminar Series: "New Product Development: From Linear To Chaos And Back Again"

Thursday, October 1, 2009
11:30 - 12:30

Dr. Ian P. McCarthy, Canada Research Chair in Technology & Operations Management
Segal Graduate School of Business


Research and management practice have tended to understand the new product development process using linear, recursive or chaotic system frameworks, each of which promotes a different approach to the organization and control of the process, along with different innovation outcomes. It has also been assumed that these frameworks are fixed for individual product development processes; that is, it is unlikely that a single process will toggle between linear, recursive and chaotic behaviours. In this talk I explain how new product development processes can switch between these behaviours, and that variations in control systems, decision rules and the connectivity between members of the process, combine to alter the levels of linearity and self-organization in the process. This in turn influences the potential for the process to generate different types of innovation that can range from incremental to radical in nature.

About the Speaker

Dr. Ian McCarthy completed his undergraduate degree in Manufacturing Systems at Kingston Polytechnic and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Technology and Operations Management at the University of Sheffield. Prior to joining Simon Fraser University in 2003, he was a faculty member within the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield, and the Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick. He has also worked in project and operations management roles at Philips Electronics and Alcan. Dr. McCarthy is interested in the genesis and diversity of technology-based firms, as well as the methodologies by which these may be studied. Using evolutionary and complex adaptive systems theories, his work advances and complements existing strategy-industry structure explanations of the diversity of firms, by showing the ways and the extent to which the success of these firms depends on operations level management rather than on their technology, strategy and founding conditions alone. In particular, he is interested in how firms differ in their new product development processes, management control systems and outsourcing practices. In 2009 Dr. McCarthy became a Fulbright New Century Scholar (NCS). As an NCS Scholar, he is working with a select group of research scholars and professionals from around the world to investigate the design and management of university research parks.