Technical Brief

The Characteristics of Innovative, Mechanical Products—10 Years Later

[+] Author and Article Information
Katja Hölttä-Otto

Design Factory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Aalto University,
Betonimiehenkuja 5,
Espoo 02210, Finland
e-mail: katja.holtta-otto@aalto.fi

Kevin Otto

Fellow ASME
Design Factory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Aalto University,
Betonimiehenkuja 5,
Espoo 02210, Finland
e-mail: kevin.otto@aalto.fi

Chaoyang Song

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
Monash University,
Wellington Road,
Clayton VIC 3800, Australia
e-mail: chaoyang.song@monash.edu

Jianxi Luo

Engineering Product Development Pillar,
Singapore University of Technology and Design,
8 Somapah Raod,
Singapore 487372
e-mail: luo@sutd.edu.sg

Timothy Li

Engineering Product Development Pillar,
Singapore University of Technology and Design,
8 Somapah Road,
Singapore 487372
e-mail: timothy.li@me.com

Carolyn C. Seepersad

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Texas at Austin,
204 E. Dean Keeton Street,
Austin, TX 78712
e-mail: ccseepersad@mail.utexas.edu

Warren Seering

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
77 Massachusetts Avenue,
Cambridge, MA 02139
e-mail: seering@mit.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received November 6, 2017; final manuscript received March 20, 2018; published online May 28, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Irem Tumer.

J. Mech. Des 140(8), 084501 (May 28, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: MD-17-1740; doi: 10.1115/1.4039851 History: Received November 06, 2017; Revised March 20, 2018

Ten years prior to this paper, innovative mechanical products were analyzed and found to embody multiple innovation characteristics—an average of two more than competing products in the marketplace. At the time, it was not known whether these products would be successful over time and whether the number or type of innovation characteristics would be related with success. In this work, products from the previous study were categorized into well- and under-adopted products. Also, each product was categorized according to the type of firm that launched it: a new venture or an established firm. The innovative products enjoyed a success rate of 77% on average. The success was not dependent on the number or type of innovation characteristics embodied by the product. However, products developed in new ventures embody, on average, one more innovation characteristic and enjoy a slightly higher success rate than those launched by established firms.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

(a) Cumulative distribution of the original 197 products' company age by sample sequence and (b) an excerpt distribution of samples with company age under 15, where 8 years forms a natural division between new ventures and established firms

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Example of an innovation award-winning product: The Jawbone headset (photo by Robert Schlatter and Yves Behar, Fuseproject)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Average number of innovation characteristics exhibited by innovation award-winning products from new ventures versus established firms, with error bars



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