On Dec. 18th, Christian Johansson, Division of Functional Product Development, presented and defended his Ph.D. thesis “Knowledge Maturity as Decision Support in Stage-Gate Product Development: a Case from the Aerospace Industry”. Opponent was Dave Randall, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the grading committee consisted of Docent Sofia Ritzén, Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Professor Johan Ölvander, Linköpings Universitet and Professor Anita Mirijamdotter, Växjö Universitet. Examiner was Tobias Larsson of LTU.
The thesis moves from the analysis of the role of the stage-gate process within the aerospace industry and proposes the application of a knowledge maturity concept at the gates to raise the decision makers’ awareness of the status of the knowledge assets handled at the decision point. The knowledge maturity concept considers three basic dimensions: input, method/tool and experience/expertise in assessing the knowledge base maturity. The scale is intended to act as a boundary object, facilitating the knowledge creation process by highlighting the current status of the knowledge base and making stakeholders aware of the nature of the project’s uncertainties and ambiguities. The purpose of the knowledge maturity concept is to support design teams at the gates in taking appropriate action, mitigating risk and focusing their efforts on improving the knowledge assets where it is needed most, regarding the situation at hand and, finally, to make more confident decisions.
The thesis was developed within the EU FP6 VIVACE (Value Improvement through a Virtual Aeronautical Collaborative Enterprise) and EU FP7 CRESCENDO (Collaborative and Robust Engineering using Simulation Capability Enabling Next Design Optimisation) projects, and within the Faste Laboratory, a VINNOVA Excellence Centre involving partners from the Swedish manufacturing industry.