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INNOVATION BASED COMPETITION AND DESIGN SYSTEMS DYNAMICS

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INNOVATION

BASED COMPETITION & DESIGN SYSTEMS DYNAMICS

Lessons from French Innovative Firms and Organizational Issues for the Next Decade

Collection Economiques dirigée par Pierre-Jean Benghozi
Economiques veut être une collection qui traduise la richesse de la recherche française actuelle en économie et en gestion. A ce titre, elle souhaite rester ouverte à tous les courants de ces disciplines, qu'il s'agisse d'histoire économique, de modélisation, d'analyses sectorielles, d'économie politique, ou de stratégies industrielles... La collection a pour vocation de publier les thèses de jeunes doctorants talentueux comme les ouvrages de chercheurs plus confirmés qui pourront trouver là un espace de diffusion de leurs travaux. Les lecteurs visés sont bien sûr les économistes et les gestionnaires "de profession". Mais ce sont aussi les "honnêtes hommes" d'aujourd'hui, à la recherche d'outils et de clés de lecture qui leur permettent de mieux appréhender les phénomènes de société auxquels ils sont confrontés dans leur vie quotidienne ou en suivant l'actualité. La collection vise à rendre accessibles des textes et des travaux pointus à un public qui n'est pas uniquement constitué de spécialistes. Les ouvrages publiés dans Economiques s'efforcent de mettre donc essentiellement l'accent sur les résultats et les éléments d'explication obtenus dans les recherches plutôt que sur les démarches et les méthodologies adoptées. Les textes publiés contribuent à éclairer les enjeux économiques et sociaux actuels à partir d'approches solides et rigoureuses, en mobilisant des matériaux, des données, des informations, des théories, des modèles ou des analyses inédites. Le seul critère que se donne la collection est un critère de qualité et d'originalité. Déjà parus Philippe ANTOMARCHI, Les barrières à l'entrée en économie industrielle, 1998. Louis DUPONT, Sécurité alimentaire et stabilisation macroéconomique en Haïti, 1998. Alain CLEMENT, Nourrir le peuple - Entre Etat et marché, 1999. Jacques PERRIN (ed.), Pilotage et évaluation des processus de conception, 1999. Alain FAYOLLE, L'ingénieur entrepreneur français, 1999. Jean-François FERRANDI, La Corse dans le miroir sarde, 1999. Gilles CAIRE, Analyse économique des biens durables de consommation, 1999.

Edited by

Pierre-Jean Benghozi, Florence Charue-Duboc, Christophe Midler

Innovation Based Competition

& Design Systems Dynamics
Lessons from French Innovative Firms and Organizational Issues for the Next Decade

L'Harmattan 5-7, rue de l'École-Polytechnique 75005 Paris

L'Harmattan Inc. 55, rue Saint-Jacques Montréal (Qc) CANADA H2Y IK9

@L'Hannattan,2000

ISBN: 2-7384-9574-5

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

The Design Revolution in French Firms: Studies from the Ecole Polytechnique Management Research Center La révolution de la conception dans les entreprises françaises: douze études du Centre de Recherche en Gestion de L'école Polytechnique Pierre-Jean Benghozi, Florence Charue-Duboc, Christophe Midler
SECTION 1 Strategic Management

1

19

in Innovation Based Competition

A Longitudinal Analysis of the Design Dynamics in Industrial Firms - a comparison between automobile, chemical and construction companies Sihem Ben Mahmoud-Jouini, Florence Charue-Duboc, Christophe Midler Design Process and Innovation Based Supplies Strategy - the case of major contractors in the French construction industry Sihem Ben Mahmoud-Jouini The Product-to-Service Transition: Organization of work to Scientific Customers - a case in the steel industry Pierre-Jean Benghozi from Scientific Organization of

39

75

93

The Growing Role of Distributors in Design Systems - an international comparison in the clothing industry Céline Abecassis Management Tools for R&D Project Portfolios in Complex Organizations - the case of an international pharmaceutical firm Denis Bayart, Yves Bonhomme, Christophe Midler
SECTION 2 Project Coordination Development

117

135

in Upstream Industries and Joint

Managing Joint Development in Transnational Alliances - the case of the European tactical missile industry Philippe Piron Managing Innovative Projects in Upstream Industries - the case of a French steel group Sylvain Lenfle, Christophe Midler
SECTION 3 The Transformation of Design Professions: Redefining Research, Marketing and Engineering Organization and Practice

161

193

Renewing Research Management in Project-Oriented Organizations - the case of a global vaccine firm Florence Charue-Duboc, Christophe Midler Innovative Projects and the Construction of New Expertises in Research and Market Analysis - the case of chemical specialities Florence Charue-Duboc

221

239

How Concurrent

Engineering

Reconfigures

Process 257

EngineeringActivity - the case of the chemicalindustry
Florence Charue-Duboc, Christophe Midler
SECTION 4 Economic Incentives for Design Activities: Co-Development Contracts and Models of Remuneration

Is Co-Development a Win-Win Partnership?
die design in auto industry Gilles Garel, Christophe Midler

-

the case of 275

A Model for Remunerating Creative Endeavour - the copyright in art industries Pierre-Jean Benghozi, Thomas Paris
BIBLIOGRAPHY AUTHORS

297

325 345

INTRODUCTION

The Design Revolution in French firms: Studies from the Ecole Polytechnique Management Research Center
Pierre-Jean Benghozi - Florence Charue-Duboc Christophe Midler

Innovation has always been key to industrial development, and researchers have long sought the formula for this miracle, which brings together the inventor, the trader, the producer and the financier. The 1990s, however, have witnessed an abrupt break with the past, in three ways. First, the strategic status of innovation has changed. From what was basically a weapon for growth, limited to the most enterprising, innovation has become a condition of survival. In saturated markets, intellectual creation and innovation provide a strategic alternative to price wars and restructuring. This change has also induced a thorough re-evaluation of the role of innovation in various bodies of theory: economic (the neo-Schumpeterians), legal (intellectual property rights) and sociological (the sociology of innovation). Second, though innovation was previously a rare and isolated phenomenon, it has become frequent. It was associated with company start-ups and caused infrequent upheavals, which punctuated long periods in which stability and more incremental notions of progress were the rule. Today, in a global market where any good idea is quickly copied and where isolated innovations cannot be relied on to generate lasting rents, medium-term success stems from the generation of a continual flow of strong innovations. This change implies the rationalization of design and conception and the development of new management practices for these activities, just as was done

previously in areas related to production. Third, innovation was localized, but is now spreading throughout the industrial fabric. Previously, innovation affected sectors associated with specific techniques, markets and artistic traditions, where creation and designers had a recognized place, status, contributions and ways of working. Today, innovation is much more widespread: it not only affects all sectors, but it is also spreading throughout the industrial chain and is no longer limited to the upstream stage alone. Creation and design practices are being transformed under the growing influence of partnership mechanisms and networking, which help to develop mutual support between firms and to redefine positions on value-added chains.

The Research Program on Innovation and Design
We are therefore seeing great changes in the design systems currently used in most sectors, aimed at significantly raising the creative performance of companies. Analyzing these developments is one of the major thrusts of research at the Centre de Recherche en Gestion (CRG - Management Research Center) of the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris, France). For several years, two teams of researchers at the Centre have been tackling these questions from different perspectives. One is studying the "design revolution", by analogy with the revolution of production in the 1980s when new technologies and organizational concepts were introduced on a massive scale; this project is aimed at developing a more general analysis of the current transformations by exploring the variety of forms they can take in different industrial sectors (automobiles, construction, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, etc.). The other team has the more specific objective of investigating activities where artistic or technological innovation plays a key role (cultural industries, information and communication technologies, etc.) by studying the conditions for the emergence of innovation as well as the organizational and market changes associated with it.

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These two avenues of research have already produced many publications, particularly in the Cahiers du CRG; number 3 (Benghozi & Midler, 1989) in this series, published in 1989, provided early evidence of these changes by analyzing the rise of project functions within companies in two sectors that had previously been typical of mass production and functional organization: the telephone and automobile sectors. In 1990, Cahiers du CRG number 6 (Bayart & Benghozi, 1990) showed for the cultural field how the systematic confrontation between organizations and creative work gave rise to original operating methods that today are providing inspiration for more traditional industrial sectors, e.g. where remuneration and cooperative practices are concerned. In 1996, Cahier number 13 (Midler & al., 1996) reviewed the research on the "design revolution" on the basis of analysis of the dynamics, which are under way in various industrial sectors, especially chemicals, automobile manufacturing and construction. It was shown to what extent these dynamics, in addition to redefining the role and profile of project teams, entailed a thoroughgoing transformation of company strategies, of the skills of those involved in designing new products and in inter-firm relations. The present volume continues along the same lines, but goes beyond the mere presentation of recent research. Its special importance lies in the fact that it illustrates and gives concrete form to the two strong epistemological options that have underpinned the practice of most CRG researchers for over twenty years. Publication in English will make these papers accessible to English speakers and test the fertility of these research choices which, although used by many teams in France, remain largely unknown to the management studies mainstream. The first epistemological option is that of clinical approach as defined by Berry (1995), in which researchers follow changes and participate in organizational learning processes over several years. For example, research on the partnership entered into by the automobile maker Renault (see the last chapter of this volume) is the result of an almost uninterrupted -3-

relationship with this company since the mid-1980s in the areas of invention and implementation of new design processes (Perriaux, 1999). Analysis of the transformation of the role of research in the chemicals industry stems from research conducted at Rhône-Poulenc from 1992 to 1998, a period which coincided with a major strategic turning point in which the firm abandoned its oligopolistic strategy in the market for basic inputs to adopt a strategy based on speciality products. Research into the construction and missile industries also coincided with major changes of direction in these sectors. The article on the textile and clothing sector is also based on close collaboration between the technical operators in this sector (technology suppliers, standardization bodies) at a time when roles and co-ordination mechanisms in the sector were undergoing radical redefinition under the impact of new technologies. Lastly, the article on copyright is in keeping with a context of severe crisis in the current economic regulations governing the artistic and cultural sphere; the authors' analysis is directly concerned with the questions raised, in government as well as in the industries concerned, by the radical transformation of creative practices and the search for more appropriate methods of remuneration and protection of copyright. The methodological bias common to these papers is based on the hypothesis that building appropriate relationship modes and research practices generates a space in which the general scientific objectives of researchers become compatible with the operational expectations of the corporate actors facing such radical changes. The second methodological option consists of the intersection of the disciplinary and sectoral views of the object under study. It is based on positioning the researchers according to the varying conditions found in the field (close to nonmanagerial personnel, general management or designers, depending on the case), but also on mobilizing and juxtaposing conceptual contributions from different theoretical disciplines (particularly law and economics). It also involves the systematic use of a comparative inter-sectoral approach, which is reflected

-4-

in the very structure of this volume. Readers will therefore find food for thought in this work regardless of whether their main disciplines are business economics, marketing, strategy or human relations management. Similarly, we hope that readers will see the value of articles that do not concern the sector with which they are familiar, just as researchers saw the advantage of, for example, drawing connections between the problem of remunerating artists in the cultural field with that of assigning a value to the creative acts of researchers in the chemicals industry. Between the search for a "generalizable" proposal and the imitation effects that often occur in the business world concerning "good practice", this work illustrates this strategy of building a management theory discourse in which modelling and contextualism are mutually supportive instead of opposed. Although the aim of this volume is to bring together the CRG' s work on the theme of innovation and design, we must emphasize the fact that this research is not isolated in France. To the contrary, it forms part of a rapidly growing school of thought. On the basis of explorations focused on design and associated management practices, or on current technologies and transformations, genuine research networks have come into being that bring together not only managers but also economists, sociologists, researchers in the engineering sciences and ergonomists!.

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..

..

1 Let in mention in particular long time permanent collaborations with CGS (Centre de Gestion Scientifique) [see references by Chapel, Hatchuel, Moisdon, Sardas & Weil in that volume] and regular research interactions through two seminars, "Design Practices and Professions" and "Technology & Innovation Managment": CRISTO [see references by Jeantet & Tiger]; CSI (Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation) [see references by Akrich, Callon, Laredo, Latour & Mustar]; Laboratoire d'Ergonomie du CNAM [see Beguin, Darses, Falzon & Sauvagnac]; LATTS [see Bobroff, Conninck, Flichy, Veltz & Zarifian]. -5-

This book is in four sections. The first focuses on a strategic approach to current changes. The second focuses on design project internal co-ordination. The third analyses the transitions for the professional units involved in design processes. The last part focuses on inter-firm economic regulation in design.

Strategic management in innovation based competition
How are innovation strategies changing? Which economic actors are driving the dynamics seen today? How are they transforming their organizations and relationships with partners to implement these strategies? What technologies and management tools can be used in the context of these strategies? Five contributions to this work shed light on these questions. This first chapter give a comparative overview of major french firms' dynamics refeering to three different sectors: automotive, chemical and construction. We adopt here a perspective that put back the results of our on going interactive researches in longitudinal analysis of these firms since the 1950' s {on such association of longitudinal and real time approaches, see (Pettigrew, 1985). The chapter will show how, when conventional market demand began to peter out and global competition to intensify, the development of innovationbased strategies offered one of the best ways forward to sustained business activity. The automotive and chemical industries demonstrate how, on quite different contexts, major French corporate groups as Renault and Rhône-Poulenc have succeeded in anticipating and leading this fundamental strategic change, which in turn has led to a total overhaul of their design system. These strategic transitions are associated with radical changes in design systems of the studied firms. The authors give a theoretical framework for analysing such changes, associating three key processes: the formulation of the company' s strategy, the co-ordination of new product development and the process whereby a knowledge base is built up to provide input for the process of innovation. The chapter

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shows that evolutionary paths followed by the automotive and chemical industries tend to converge in terms of their mobilization - each at its own pace and following its own sequence - the three poles identified earlier here. As for major construction groups, the strategic change have not yet been implemented. Their own strategy has been till now to adapt to the structural decline in demand by redeployment at locallevel, corporate concentration and flight into other markets or businesses. Chapter one analyses the cause for such differences, by reference to the characteristics of the product as the institutional context of construction sector. The second chapter goes on on the analysis of the construction sector, exploring the conditions and the possible scenarios to deploy from now on such innovation-based strategies in the construction industry. This question is of course bound to be intellectually interesting for the researcher, but it takes on a new dimension when it is addressed collectively by France's five major general contractors within a research program supported by the public supervisory agency. Sihem Ben Mahmoud-Jouini analyzes how, beginning from a current situation in which design is basically driven by demand expressed by project clients, it is possible to envisage a transition in which major construction firms would become involved in pro-active market supply strategies centred on technological or product innovations. This chapter demonstrates that in a sector with such strong defining characteristics as construction, an empirical basis is not at all an obstacle to theory but an advantage for theoretical formulation. The particular case of the construction sector illustrates a number of key general theoretical issues, such as the situation of strategic transition, the concept of dispersed design, and the dissociation between economic clout and the ability to command the design process. Reformulation of a firm' s market supply is also central to the third chapter. Pierre-Jean Benghozi analyzes how the leading European steel company, in its business-to-business

-7-

relationships with downstream customers, changed its strategy focused on product sales to one based on a much broader supply of services, selling comprehensive "steel solutions" focused on the specific problems of major customers. He shows what is entailed by this change of strategic orientation: a thorough shake-up of the product line, of the powers of the marketing side, of its relations with producers, and so on - in short, "a scientific organization of the customer" without which this "customer orientation" might well remain at the level of empty words or might lead to an inefficient disorganization that works against the desired objectives. In the fourth chapter, Céline Abecassis analyzes the dynamic of the design system in the clothing sector. In contrast to the previous chapter, her point of departure is the initiative of an actor located far downstream: the distributor. Only a decade ago, the distributor' s role was limited to the last stage of the process, namely the commercial launch of products brainstormed, designed and produced by others. Why and how are distributors becoming key actors in the design system of this sector? The case of the clothing industry, studied here, is characteristic of the strategic movement which is changing sectoral relationships and borders, and which is also emerging in other fields (furniture, sports articles, etc.). One avenue explored by this article is the link between these new strategies and the development of new information and communication technologies which are supposed to facilitate the co-ordination and management of functions, such as product creation, which previously were spread among dispersed and heterogeneous economic agents. In chapter five, another sector, pharmaceuticals, lets us analyze the problems raised by the management of an innovation strategy from the perspective of a traditional problem for managers: the use of decision support instruments. Research has of course always played a major role in the development of pharmaceutical firms. The recent movement towards concentration in this sector and the substantial rise in research costs have given rise to new requirements in terms of -8-

evaluating, comparing, selecting and managing projects. The traditional model of autonomous, ad hoc research is giving way to new approaches in which the notion of the "project portfolio" plays an important role. Denis Bayart, Yves Bonhomme and Christophe Midler, on the basis of experiments conducted by Merck-Lipha, present an analytical framework for defining a range of instruments and a process for managing project portfolios in the context of a pharmaceutical company.

Project coordination in upstream industries and jointdevelopment
Part 2 of the volume continues the work begun several years ago on analysis of the various configurations through which design projects are co-ordinated. The two contexts examined here are very different from the best-known context, namely that of manufacturing, and more especially automobile manufacturing. In chapter six, Philippe Piron analyzes additive alliance projects, i.e. design projects that bring together two partners sharing the same businesses. The context of large international military aeronautics projects is typical of this situation. From an analysis of real-time participation in a project, he shows the design problems raised by co-operation and analyzes the means which have proved effective in overcoming them: the process of building a team with staff from both companies, gaining autonomy from the parent companies (whose strategies do not correspond to the project objectives), the concomitant management of the efficiency principle and of an equity principle which is essential to trust and cohesiveness, dealing with national environments (particularly those of customers) whose divergence makes it difficult to reap the expected benefits of the alliance between companies from the two countries. The chapter seven, by Sylvain Lenfle and Christophe Midler analyzes and describes the rationalization of a specific design process, that of upstream companies in industrial sectors

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(typically chemical or steel firms). Having shown how the impact of innovation-based competition on the market for finished products reaches the upstream level, the analysis turns to the specific characteristics of this design situation: proliferation and strategic complexity of projects, great uncertainty as to their results, a "technology push" approach to finding adequate customer outlets, investigative co-ordination that is pushed down the economic chain rather than pulled by the final assembler. Lastly, he defines the general principles of a system for managing design projects that takes these characteristics into account, especially ways and means for involving customers in defining possible applications and the processes of acquiring knowledge about the market supply of products.

The transformation of design professions: redefining research marketing and engineering organization and practice
The current transformations are not limited to the emergence of project actors and the establishment of "concurrent" methods of co-ordination. Rather, they oblige companies to redefine the individual competencies of the activities involved, as well as their collective organization. The three chapters in this part examine the business dynamics that are taking hold in three activities which are key to new product design: research marketing, and engineering. In chapter eight, Florence Charue-Duboc and Christophe Midler take up the question of the connections, within research units, between involvement in product development and the pursuit of technological and scientific strategies needed to prepare the way for future products. This is another recurrent question concerning the changes we are seeing today: will the rise of project actors result in disorganization and loss of efficiency in the processes of developing and capitalizing the in-house technical knowledge of research departments? If this is the case, the current reforms will quickly reveal their

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limitations, since the raw material for future projects is being developed in these departments. How then can project efficiency be reconciled with the pursuit of ambitious scientific and technical strategies? The chapter addresses this topic by analyzing the reorganization of the research centre of a major pharmaceuticals firm. This "platform" reorganization designates new structures for capitalizing and creating knowledge in the field of vaccinology. Research then made it possible to experiment with new management mechanisms for these units - mechanisms suited to the nature of the business (where the main issue is managing a process of creating and deploying new knowledge) and to the expected performance characteristics of these units (contributing to progress on ongoing projects and generating upstream inputs for future projects). In chapter nine, Florence Charue-Duboc focusses on another key issue with the current change of orientation: the relationship between researchers and marketers in the joint exploration of new opportunities for value creation and the technical solutions that can capitalize on them. The case studied, from the chemicals industry, allows the author to analyze the new relations between these two activities in projects that break radically with the standard linear model of development. The author shows that the current adjustments involve the emergence of new skills in both marketing departments and research units. Marketing departments, in addition to their usual "customer contact" skills, which put strong emphasis on price negotiation, are building up an "application" skill allowing them both to forge and to lead partnerships involving customers' technical experts and, within the company, to formulate functional instructions that are precise and stable enough to guide research paths. Research units, in addition to traditional chemical research which aims at synthesizing products, are developing a "functional chemistry" or "applicability" capacity which can orient technical investigations according to use properties that are defined precisely by customers and marketing departments.

- Il -

In chapter ten, Florence Charue-Duboc and Christophe Midler analyze the consequences of applying concurrent engineering to the activity of the chemical process engineer. They show that the practice of such engineers is destabilized and should therefore be reconfigured at the three levels that define their activity: individual skill, collective organization and creation of economic value. At the level of individual skill, concurrent engineering involves the ability to formulate problem-solution pairs, the ability to investigate various constraints and negotiate compromises concerning them in association with other experts, whereas previously the engineer worked mostly in a problem-solving framework. At the level of the internal organization of engineering departments, the new imperatives of projects create new allocative constraints, especially where autonomy and continuity of tasks are concerned. Lastly, in terms of evaluating the performance of these units, project heads are trying to impose a comprehensive, integrated vision of performance, whereas invoicing practices tend to individualize the contributions of the various participants.

Economic incentives for design activities: codevelopment contracts and models of remuneration
Inter-firm design partnership is a major trend in contemporary business world. But classical economic relations are not adapted to frame the learning heuristics of inter-firm codesign processes. In Chapter Il Gilles Garel and Christophe Midler analyze such situations, focusing on the question of the economic contract linking the two partners. The context is the automobile manufacturing sector, which has been experimenting since the early 1990s with new processes in the manufacturer-supplier relationship, under the names "partnership" and "co-development". Although we often hear that these approaches are taken as part of a "win-win" philosophy, what is really going on? How does such a contract translate this philosophy into reality? The authors answer these questions through analysis of the partnership between an - 12-

automobile manufacturer and its suppliers of die-stamping tools. By adopting a methodology of comparing two projects developed under different approaches, the authors show first that the new contractual methods associated with the establishment of co-localization strongly reduced modifications, leadtimes and development costs. A survey of suppliers allowed them to evaluate the distribution of this gain among the various partners: the manufacturer and the various tool-and-die makers involved in the projects studied. The results show that although some suppliers managed to take advantage of this approach, others suffered from it. The analysis shows the correlation between this result and the suppliers' technical and engineering capabilities. It thus demonstrates the limits of an approach focused on the issue of contract-based inducements if it does not address the issue of the collective learning of the design skills required. The question of intellectual property rights occupies an increasingly important place in economic, legal and management thinking. This is due, on the one hand, to the growing role of creative activities, both in artistic sectors and in an industrial environment where the intangible component of business is steadily rising. For this reason, all the problems raised by economic and technical transformations crystallize in the copyright issue: dematerialization of products, transformation of the modes of production and sectoral structures, a growing role for design activities and the mobilization of knowledge, changing methods of distribution and consumption, the growing role of information and service networks, the emergence of new actors, the role of creation in company strategies, increased market competitiveness, concentration and diversification, the organization of partnership relationships around innovative capacity, methods for regulation and monitoring by government and eligible parties, and so on. The hypothesis explored in the chapter twelve by Pierre-Jean Benghozi and Thomas Paris is that analysis of current phenomena in the cultural sector foreshadows situations that are - 13-

met with increasing frequency in the industrial and service sectors. This field was confronted very early on with issues that only recently have become a concern of companies in other sectors: the organization of intangible production, valuation of goods and services for which no spontaneous and indisputable assessment criteria exist, the difficulty of establishing prices, the unforeseeable nature of commercial success, and so on. The history of copyright and the various models of remuneration supported by copyright allow us to understand and to forecast the extent to which this type of mechanism can, or cannot, be used in economic sectors that at first sight are far removed from the cultural sphere, such as heavy industry, services and sports.

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To conclude, we would like to take another look at the title of this introduction and at the reasons why we describe the dynamics under study as "revolutionary". When we talk about revolution, we are evidently stressing the rupture in company design procedures that is amply described in the 12 chapters of this work. But it also underlines the centrality of the movement within the more generalized dynamics of our economy. It is obvious that any business amounts to more than just its design function. It produces, buys, distributes, pays salaries, takes on workers, plans, communicates, and so on. This many-faceted and mixed nature of management is one of the theoretical principals on which research at the CRG is based (CRG, 1981). When we use this principle as a theoretical base, it means that we do not elaborate one particular proposition separately from questions about how it relates to other propositions (Girin, 1990). This kind of analysis is made possible by studying concrete examples of the way organizations plan to put such changes into effect and by continuing to study them throughout the process. Because we accept this principle a priori, and the methodological consequences previously mentioned, our
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assertions about the current centrality of design dynamics is not just stating the obvious. We maintain, therefore, that throughout the 1990s, the dynamics of company organization in general, such as the dynamics in the nature of inter-company relationships, have been made trendy by the question of design. The same thing happened in earlier times to questions about mass production (Ford), compromise between control, size and variety (Sloan), total manufacturing quality (Ohno), administration and evaluation of shareholding values, which were initially durable lessons that finished up as archetypes of general management. So, as the various chapters show, design is no longer confined to any particular trade, or job or organization. It is a collective activity, to be found everywhere, as much in strategy definitions as in needs and market reports, in scientific and technological knowledge, in production and distribution skills any process that brings together all the different links in the economic chain. Changes in design bring about a "ripple effect" in organizations as a whole, in the content of various jobs and in the procedures and structures that link them. We can identify three quite distinct manifestations of this "ripple effect". - The first is a revision of classic competition models, which redefines the place and the approach of innovation. The question now is how to generate and manage a permanent state of flux in the world of innovation. It no longer takes place in isolation: the scale of the success -or failure- of a single innovation has to be measured against what it contributes elsewhere, how it consolidates and what it inspires. This is the central characteristic of the design function. We need new ways of organizing, evaluating and directing these initiatives to maximize their potential for interaction (ideas about platforms, portfolios, option values, managing collective rights, and so on). These models must take into account a dynamic environment, whereas traditionally, the variables used merely described static situations. From a conceptual, as much as from a management point of view, we are still very far from knowing - 15-

all the consequences of this in-depth revision of our understanding of design situations: they are unpredictable, changeable, reversible, risky. Significantly, there are several chapters that conclude that such a revision calls for the implementation of ethical and equitable frameworks. Without them, it is very unlikely that those engaged on this adventure will ever work together. - Secondly, there is the question of knowledge management within the organizational structure. Classically, roles and relationships were defined within a debatable framework of decision-making and control. The years between 1985-1990 saw the spectacular development of organizationallearning and knowledge management (Ekstedt & al., 1999; Veltz, 2000). These debates were specifically constructed and extended by concentrating on the analysis of activities and design systems. The ways that knowledge is created and mobilized obviously playa key role in these situations. Significantly, an indication of this can be seen in the way authors such as Simon (1969), Schon (1983), Hatchuel (1994), Nonaka (1994), Charbit, Charue & Midler (1992), as well as several of the authors in this project, all use areas of design activity theories at the same time as they use theories of organizational learning. The book will provide many examples of how these collective learning systems are used and ways they can be applied. - The third concerns the reappraisal that the conflict between organizations and markets is a key economics and management question. Theories of innovation began to stress the importance of networking many years ago (Akrich, Callon & Latour, 1988; Mustar, 1995; Flichy, 1995). Then in the 1990s the realities of the economic world caught up: the processes described in the following chapters have crossed company boundaries, which are, in any event, becoming more and more difficult to define. The reader will find that the economic world analysed here is like a vast area hovering in between markets in general and their widening structures. This situation is particularly striking when it comes to examining the work of those who have to manage these boundaries efficiently (usually buyers and

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traders) and whose jobs are undergoing fundamental redefinition. The growing role of the Internet in inter-company relations as well as between companies and the end users (which is examined in Chapters 3 and 4 of this book) will intensify this situation still further in the years to come.

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Finally, we would like to acknowledge the many various contributors that made this book possible. First, we want to thank the authors for their hard working on this collective endeavour. Further, the CRG have provided decisive support, including financial aid for translation expenses, as well as scientific assistance by discussion of a number of chapters. Bruce Kogut was visiting professor in CRG while this book was in progress. We thank him for many fruitfull discussions as for important inputs on langage editing. Eirin Sandberg was a visiting student during the same period, and we thank her for her cheerfull and efficient help on this project. The ideas in this book had been improved and enlarged by previous presentations of research among networks such as IRNOP (International Research Network on Organization by Project), IPDM (International Product Development Management), PRAMÉCO (Pratique et Métiers de la Conception) and MRTI (Management of Technological ressources and Innovation). We want to thank our many colleagues involved in those interactions. We also thank Caroline Mathieu who assisted us in elimating many errors. Finally, we are deeply indebted to Michèle Breton who was the key actor is the concrete production of the book.

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INTRODUCTION

La révolution de la conception dans les entreprises françaises: douze études du Centre de Recherche en Gestion de l'École Polytechnique
Pierre-Jean Benghozi - Florence Charue-Duboc Christophe Midler

L'innovation a toujours été au cœur du développement industriel et on s'est depuis longtemps interrogé sur les recettes de ce miracle qui fait s'accorder l'inventeur, le commerçant, le producteur et le financier. Les années 1990 marquent néanmoins une rupture, et ce sur trois plans. D'abord, le statut de l'innovation dans la stratégie a changé. C'était essentiellement une arme de croissance, réservée aux plus entreprenants. C'est devenu une condition de survie. Dans des marchés saturés, la création intellectuelle et l'innovation constituent une ressource stratégique alternative à la guerre des prix et aux restructurations. Cette évolution a ouvert la voie à une réévaluation profonde de la place de l'innovation dans les théories économiques (néo-schumpétériens), juridiques (droits de propriété intellectuelle) et sociologiques (sociologie de l'innovation). L'innovation était rare et ponctuelle, elle devient fréquente. Elle démarrait des histoires d'entreprises et introduisait des ruptures peu fréquentes entre lesquelles s'intercalaient de longues plages de stabilité et des logiques de progrès plus incrémentales. Aujourd'hui, dans un marché globalisé où toute bonne idée est rapidement copiée, où les rentes générées par des innovations ponctuelles se raccourcissent, le succès à moyen terme provient de la génération d'un flux continu d'innovations fortes. Une telle

évolution suppose que les métiers de la conception et de la création se rationalisent et développent de nouvelles pratiques de gestion, tout comme l'avaient fait auparavant ceux relevant de la sphère de la production. L'innovation était localisée, elle se généralise dans le tissu industriel. Elle concernait principalement certains secteurs, relevant de techniques, de marché ou de traditions artistiques spécifiques où création et concepteurs avaient une place, un statut, des contributions et des façons de travailler reconnus. Aujourd'hui, cette place de l'innovation est plus diffuse: elle concerne d'abord tous les secteurs, elle se propage ensuite dans l'ensemble des filières industrielles et n'est plus localisée au seul stade amont. Les pratiques de création et de conception se transforment sous le poids grandissant des mécanismes de partenariat et des effets de réseau qui contribuent à solidariser les firmes entre elles et à redéfinir les positions sur les chaînes de valeur ajoutée.

Le programme de recherche sur l'innovation et la conception
Dès lors, on assiste dans la plupart des secteurs à des transformations des systèmes de conception en place, afin d'accroître significativement la performance créatrice des entreprises. L'analyse de ces mutations constitue un des axes majeurs de réflexion du Centre de recherche en gestion de l'Ecole polytechnique (Paris, France). Depuis plusieurs années, en effet, deux équipes de chercheurs du CRG abordent ces questions à partir de contextes différents. L'une d'elle s'attache à étudier ce que nous proposions d'appeler une "révolution de la conception" (Midler, 1993, p 171,194), par analogie avec la révolution qu'avait vécu l'univers de la production dans la décennie 80 avec l'introduction massive de technologies et de concepts d'organisation nouveaux; son projet vise à analyser plus largement les différents axes des transformations en cours en comparant différents secteurs industriels (automobile, bâtiment, chimie, pharmacie.. .). L'autre équipe se donne plus spécifiquement pour objet les activités où l'innovation artistique ou technologique joue un rôle central (industries culturelles, - 20-

technologies de l'information et de la communication...), en étudiant les conditions de son émergence ainsi que les transformations organisationnelles et de marché qui lui sont associées. Ces recherches ont déjà donné lieu à de nombreuses publications, notamment dans le cadre de la collection des «Cahiers du CRG» : le Cahier n° 3, (Benghozi & Midler, 1989), témoignait déjà de ces mutations en analysant la montée en puissance des fonctions projets au sein des entreprises, dans deux secteurs autrefois typiques de la production de masse et de l'organisation fonctionnelle -le téléphone et l'automobile-. En 1990, le Cahier n° 6 (Bayart & Benghozi, 1990) montrait, dans le domaine culturel, comment la confrontation systématique des organisations à la création suscitait l'émergence de modes de régulation originaux qui sont actuellement source d'inspiration pour les secteurs industriels plus traditionnels en matière de rémunération ou de pratiques de coopération par exemple. En 1996, le Cahier n° 13 (Midler & al., 1996) faisait le point des recherches engagées sur les dynamiques en cours dans différents secteurs industriels, notamment la chimie, l'automobile et le bâtiment. On y montrait combien, au-delà d'une redéfinition du rôle et du profil des équipes projets, ces dynamiques impliquaient une transformation profonde des stratégies des entreprises, des compétences des professionnels impliqués dans la conception des nouveaux produits comme des relations entre les firmes. Le présent ouvrage s'inscrit dans le prolongement de ces synthèses. Mais il dépasse pour nous la simple présentation de résultats de recherches récentes. Son importance particulière tient à ce qu'il illustre et matérialise les deux options épistémologiques fortes qui fondent la pratique de la plupart des chercheurs du CRG depuis maintenant plus de vingt ans. Sa publication en anglais devrait permettre de rendre ces textes accessibles aux lecteurs anglo-saxons et de mettre à l'épreuve la fécondité de ces choix de recherche, qui, pour être partagés en France par de nombreuses équipes, restent encore largement nouveaux dans le "main stream" de la gestion.
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La première option épistémologique est celle de la recherche-interactive ou étude clinique telle que définie par Berry (1995), qui amène les chercheurs à accompagner des transformations et à participer à des apprentissages organisationnels sur plusieurs années. La recherche sur le partenariat chez Renault dont est issu le dernier chapitre par exemple est le résultat d'une relation quasi continue avec cette entreprise depuis le milieu des années 1980 sur l'invention et la mise en œuvre de nouveaux processus de conception (Perriaux, 1999). L'analyse de la transformation du rôle de la recherche dans la chimie et la pharmacie procède de deux recherches. La première, conduite de 1992 à 1998 avec l'entreprise RhônePoulenc, recherche contemporaine du tournant stratégique majeur qui a fait passer ce groupe d'une stratégie d'oligopole sur des matières de bases à une stratégie sur des produits de spécialité. La seconde, engagée depuis 1997 avec le groupe Merck-Lipha, provient, elle aussi, d'un besoin de réflexion exprimé par la firme quant aux instrumentations de pilotage de sa R&D. La recherche sur le bâtiment, comme celle sur l'industrie des missiles, correspondent, elles aussi, à des points de bifurcation de ces secteurs. Pour sa part, l'article sur la filière textile-habillement s'est également appuyé sur une collaboration étroite avec les opérateurs techniques du secteur (fournisseurs de technologie, organismes normalisateurs), à l'heure d'une redéfinition radicale des rôles et des mécanismes de coordination dans la filière sous l'effet des nouvelles technologies. Enfin, l'article sur les droits d'auteurs s'inscrit dans un contexte de crise profonde des régulations économiques en place dans le monde artistique et culturel; la réflexion conduite par les auteurs s'est très directement articulée sur les interrogations suscitées, au niveau des pouvoirs publics comme des professionnels, par la transformation radicale des pratiques de création et la recherche de modes de rémunération et de protection plus adaptés. Le parti pris méthodologique ainsi partagé repose sur l'hypothèse que la construction de modes de relations adaptés permet de générer un espace de compatibilité entre les objectifs scientifiques généraux des chercheurs et les

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attentes opérationnelles des acteurs sociaux confrontés à de telles mutations. De plus, une telle pratique de recherche donne accès à un espace de validation des hypothèses d'analyses. Cette démarche privilégiant l'interaction et l'expérimentation en temps réel est associée à une analyse rétrospective. Il s'agit ici d'éviter le risque classique de myopie propre à l'analyse en temps réel en resituant les faits dans la perspective des dynamiques sur plus longue période (Pettigrew, 1985). Le premier chapitre, qui compare les trajectoires des systèmes de conception de grands groupes français sur 30 ans est, de ce point de vue, typique. Quant au dernier chapitre de cet ouvrage, il est fondé sur une analyse historique de l'institution du droit d'auteur en France. La troisième option méthodologique affirmée consiste dans le croisement des regards disciplinaires et sectoriels sur l'objet étudié. Elle s'appuie sur des positions diversifiées à l'égard du terrain (proche des opérationnels, des directions générales ou des concepteurs, selon le cas), mais aussi sur la mobilisation et la confrontation d'apports conceptuels issus de traditions théoriques différentes (le droit et l'économie notamment), ainsi que le souci de se placer systématiquement dans une démarche comparative intersectorielle, dont la constitution même de cet ouvrage est une traduction. Le lecteur trouvera donc dans cet ouvrage matière à réflexion, que sa référence disciplinaire prédominante soit l'économie d'entreprise, le marketing, la stratégie ou la gestion des relations humaines. De même, il verra l'intérêt d'articles qui ne concernent pas le secteur professionnel dont il est familier, comme les chercheurs ont vu l'intérêt de rapprocher le problème de la rémunération des artistes dans le monde culturel de celui de la valorisation de l'acte créateur de chercheurs en chimie par exemple. Entre la recherche d'une proposition "généralisable" et les effets de mimétisme que l'on voit souvent opérer dans le monde professionnel à propos des "bonnes pratiques", cet ouvrage illustre cette stratégie de construction d'un discours théorique sur la gestion où modélisation et contextualisation, loin de s'opposer, se consolident mutuellement.
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Si le propos de cet ouvrage est de réunir des productions du Centre de recherche en gestion de l'Ecole polytechnique sur le thème de l'innovation et de la conception, il faut toutefois insister, en conclusion, sur le fait que ces recherches ne sont pas, en France, isolées. Elles s'inscrivent au contraire dans un courant en plein développement. A partir de questionnements centrés sur l'objet conception et les pratiques de gestion associées, ou bien sur les technologies et les transformations à l' œuvre, de véritables réseaux de recherche existent aujourd'hui et réunissent non seulement des gestionnaires mais aussi des économistes, des sociologues, des chercheurs issus des sciences
de l'ingénieur et des ergonomes
1.

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Cet ouvrage est structuré en quatre parties. La première est centrée sur une approche stratégique des mutations en cours, la seconde sur les processus internes aux projets, la troisième sur les mutations des métiers intervenant en conception et la dernière sur la régulation économique de la conception.

Dynamiques stratégiques et pilotage de la compétition par l'innovation.
Comment les stratégies d'innovation évoluent-elles? Quels sont les acteurs économiques qui impulsent les dynamiques en cours? Comment transforment-ils leurs organisations et leurs relations avec leurs partenaires pour mettre en jeu ces

On citera en particulier des collaborations anciennes et continues avec le CGS (Centre de Gestion Scientifique ) [voir dans ce volume, les références des travaux de Chapel, Hatchuel, Moisdon & WeH] et les échanges scientifiques noués aux travers de deux séminaires "Pratiques et Métiers de la Conception" et "Management des Ressources Technologiques et de l'Innovation" avec les équipes suivantes: CRISTO [cf. Jeantet & Tiger] ; CS! [cf. Ackrich, Callon, Laredo, Latour & Mustar] ; Laboratoire d'Ergonomie du CNAM [cf. Beguin, Darses, Falzon & Sauvagnac] ; LATTS [cf. Bobroff, Conninck, Flichy, Veltz & Zarifian]. - 24-

stratégies? Quelles technologies et instrumentations de gestion peuvent être mobilisées dans le cadre de ces stratégies? Cinq contributions permettent d'éclairer ces questions. Le premier chapitre montre qu'avec l'épuisement de la demande traditionnelle et l'exacerbation de la concurrence globale, le développement de stratégies d'offres innovantes constitue l'une des voies privilégiées pour le maintien de l'activité. L'analyse des contextes de l'automobile et de la chimie montre comment des grands groupes français comme Renault et Rhône-Poulenc ont su anticiper et conduire cette réorientation stratégique. Cette nouvelle politique s'est accompagnée de transformations profondes des systèmes de conception des firmes. Le chapitre propose un cadre pour analyser ces systèmes par l'articulation de trois processus clés: le processus de formulation de la stratégie de la firme, le processus de coordination des développements de nouveaux produits et le processus de constitution des connaissances qui vont nourrir les développements innovants. Les trajectoires de l'automobile et de la chimie sont évidemment différentes, mais elles montrent une convergence, selon des rythmes et des séquences spécifiques, dans la mobilisation de ces trois processus clés. Les auteurs montrent enfin que les grandes entreprises générales de bâtiment n'ont pas encore, quant à elles, opéré la même transition. Leur stratégie a été de s'adapter à la baisse structurelle de la demande par un redéploiement local, des concentrations et la fuite vers d'autres marchés ou des activités plus porteuses. Le chapitre explique cette inertie à partir des caractéristiques du domaine de conception (les bâtiments d'habitation) et du champ professionnel de la construction (milieu professionnel éclaté, poids des dispositifs de régulation des marchés). Le second chapitre approfondit l'analyse du secteur de la construction en explorant les conditions et les scénarios possibles pour un déploiement des stratégies fondées sur l'innovation dans ce secteur. Cette exploration a été prise en charge collectivement par les cinq plus grands groupes de
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construction, au sein d'un programme de recherche appuyé par la tutelle publique. Sihem Ben Mahmoud Jouini analyse comment, à partir d'une situation actuelle, on peut envisager un basculement où les grandes entreprises de BTP s'impliqueraient dans des stratégies d'offre basées sur des trajectoires d'innovations technologiques ou d'innovations produits. Cet article montre que l'ancrage empirique dans un secteur aussi typé que le bâtiment, loin d'être un obstacle à la formulation d'énoncés généraux, est au contraire un atout pour l'élaboration théorique. La situation de basculement stratégique, le contexte de conception éclatée, la dissociation entre le poids économique et la capacité de prescription en conception sont autant de questions théoriques clés et générales que le secteur du bâtiment illustre de manière emblématique. La reformulation de l'offre de la firme est aussi au cœur du troisième chapitre. Pierre-Jean Benghozi y analyse comment le premier sidérurgiste européen, dans sa relation "business to business" avec les clients aval, est passé d'une logique de vente de produit sur mesure à une offre s'articulant sur des produits plus calibrés spécifiques de ses grands clients. Il montre les implications de cette réorientation stratégique: réaménagements profonds de la gamme de produit, de la compétence du marketing, de ses rapports avec les producteurs,... bref, une "organisation scientifique du client" sans laquelle cette "orientation client" risquerait, soit de rester au niveau du discours incantatoire, soit de conduire à une désorganisation inefficace empêchant d'atteindre des buts recherchés. Céline Abecassis, analyse dans le quatrième chapitre, la dynamique du système de conception dans le secteur de l'habillement. Elle montre que celui-ci repose de plus en plus sur l'initiative d'un acteur situé paradoxalement tout en aval de la filière, le distributeur. Il y a encore une décennie, le distributeur n'intervenait qu'à l'étape ultime du processus, le lancement commercial de produits qui avaient été pensés, conçus, produits par d'autres. Pourquoi et comment les distributeurs deviennent-ils aujourd'hui des acteurs clés du
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système de conception dans ce secteur? Le cas de l'habillement, étudié ici, est caractéristique de ce mouvement stratégique qui modifie les relations et les frontières dans la filière, et dont on voit aussi l'émergence dans d'autres domaines (qu'il s'agisse du meuble, des articles de sports,.. .). L'une des interrogations de cet article est d'étudier le lien entre ces nouvelles stratégies et le développement de nouvelles technologies de l'information et de la communication censées faciliter a priori la coordination et la prise en charge de fonctions, telles que la création de produits, auparavant réparties entre des acteurs économiques hétérogènes et éclatés. Dans le sèmechapitre, un autre secteur, celui de la pharmacie, permet d'analyser les problèmes posés par le pilotage d'une stratégie d'innovation à partir d'une problématique traditionnelle pour le gestionnaire, celle de l'instrumentation des décisions. La R&D a toujours joué un rôle majeur dans les firmes pharmaceutiques. Toutefois, les regroupements récents, comme, d'un autre côté, l'augmentation importante des coûts de recherche, ont généré de nouvelles exigences pour évaluer, comparer, sélectionner et piloter les projets. Le modèle traditionnel d'une recherche autonome et adhocratique laisse place à de nouvelles démarches de contrôle où la notion de "portefeuille de projets" joue un rôle important. Denis Bayart, Yves Bonhomme et Christophe Midler proposent un cadre d'analyse pour définir une instrumentation et un processus de pilotage de portefeuille de projets dans un contexte de groupe pharmaceutique, à la lumière d'une expérimentation menée dans le groupe Merck-Lipha.

La coordination de la conception: projets en alliance et pilotage de l'innovation dans les entreprises de l'amont.
Nous poursuivons dans cette seconde partie de l'ouvrage le travail engagé depuis plusieurs années sur l'analyse des différentes configurations de coordination des projets de conception. Deux contextes sont ici explorés. Ils offrent des

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