Background to the research project

Product development is a knowledge-intensive process characterized by the exchange of information and knowledge between the people involved in the process. While many aspects of product development have already been thoroughly researched (e.g. the use of information systems), there are not yet sufficient empirically obtained results for the influence of person-bound knowledge in the product development process. In particular, it is not known by which influencing factors the speed and quality of the process can be influenced in a controlled way and how these influences can be used specifically in the design of product development processes.

Research questions and objectives of the research project

The aim is to present general factors of knowledge transfer and their interrelationships in a knowledge transfer model and to make them applicable to the domain of product development. Based on already known influencing factors (K4) of knowledge transfer processes, a domain-spanning overall model is to be developed first, which depicts the interrelationship between these factors. Subsequently, the correlations between the factors will be empirically tested and quantified in a laboratory study. As a result, an implementation model will be developed which, as a comprehensive catalog, contains a large number of interventions that allow the specific orientation of knowledge transfer activities to the concrete boundary conditions of individual situations in product development. From this, design recommendations for the practice of product development can be derived.

What does K4 mean?

K4 summarizes the already known influencing factors of knowledge transfer processes. These include complexity, competence, stickiness and conversions.

  • When influencing complexity, for example, the degree of difficulty of a task is increased.
  • When influencing competence, a subject with a higher level of expertise is used, for example.
  • When influencing stickiness, for example, test subjects are added who use highly technical language.
  • When influencing conversion, a distinction is made between the ways in which knowledge conversion or knowledge transfer takes place.

Project partners and funding

The DFG-funded research project is jointly conducted by the Chair of Information Systems at the University of Potsdam and the IPEK - Institute for Product Development at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.