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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | SME Business Management | 2013
Thesis number: 13483
Managing uncertainty in innovative projects: The experimentation-driven approach
Author: Paju, Sami
Title: Managing uncertainty in innovative projects: The experimentation-driven approach
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: SME Business Management
Index terms: pk-yritykset; smes; projektit; projects; innovaatiot; innovations; epƤvarmuus; uncertainty
Pages: 86
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13483.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1304890)
Key terms: experimentation; innovation; project management; uncertainty
Uncertainty is an essential characteristic of the future, and in novel contexts such as innovation or the creation of new business ventures there is usually little or no precedent or experience to make accurate forecasts of the results. This creates a need for non-predictive approaches that can be used to proactively manage uncertainty. The experimentation-driven approach to innovation is presented as one such method, and this thesis examines how its use affected uncertainties in two innovative projects.

A combination of case study and action research methods was used in an interventionist fashion, where two teams from a client organisation were tasked to create and develop new ideas. We instructed them on using the experimentation- driven approach and arranged weekly coaching sessions until the projects were over.

To study the changes in uncertainty, an interpretive approach was used with thematic analysis as a method for analysing the data, which consisted mainly of semi- structured interviews of each team member, as well as video recordings captured during the weekly coaching sessions.

The analysis of the two experimentation-driven projects demonstrates how uncertainty can be a concern even in seemingly simple and small attempts at creating something new. Furthermore, the findings of this research show that experimentation can be used to quickly learn about those uncertainties, and also to uncover unforeseen items that may have significant importance for the original ideas and concepts.

This thesis was done as part of the two-year MINDexpe research project, undertaken by the MIND research group of Aalto University and funded by Tekes.
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