Creation processes for radical manufacturing technology innovations

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Purpose: This paper empirically investigates the processes by which manufacturing firms create radical innovations in their core production process, referred to as radical manufacturing technology innovations (RMTI). The purpose of this paper is to improve the understanding of the processes and practices manufacturing firms use to create RMTI. Design/methodology/approach: Creation processes for 23 RMTI projects from diverse industry and technology contexts are explored. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews, and an inductive analysis was carried out to identify similarities and differences in RMTI types and creation processes. Findings: Three types of RMTI and three alternative RMTI creation processes are revealed and characterized. An integrated view is developed of the activities of the equipment supplier and the manufacturing firm, highlighting their different roles and interaction across the three RMTI creation process types. Research limitations/implications: The exploratory design limits the depth of the analysis per RMTI project, and the focus is on manufacturing technology innovations in one country. The results extend previous case and context-specific findings on RMTI creation processes and provide novel frameworks for cross-case comparisons. Practical implications: The manufacturing firms’ proactive role in RMTI creation is defined. A framework is proposed for using different RMTI creation processes for different types of RMTI. Originality/value: This study addresses recent calls for empirical research on understanding the ways in which process innovations unfold in manufacturing firms. The findings emphasize the role of manufacturing firms as creators of RMTI in addition to their role as innovation adopters and implementers and reveal the suitability of different RMTI creation processes for different RMTI types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1033
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Creation processes in firms
  • Manufacturing technology
  • Radical process innovation
  • Technological innovation

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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