Patterns and Drivers of NPD Tool Adoption in Small High-Technology Firms

G.A. De Waal, P. Knott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we set out the drivers and patterns of adoption of new product development (NPD) tools in small high-technology firms. Despite previous findings that using NPD tools can improve NPD performance outcomes, surveys of large firms show reluctance to make full use of such tools. Our study is the first to look at NPD tool adoption in small high-technology firms. We draw on survey data from 99 firms in New Zealand, covering 76 NPD tools, including both functional and support tools, and tools from nontechnical aspects of NPD, such as the market perspective. The firms in our sample adopted fewer tools overall than studies report for larger firms, and fewer complex tools, but adopted just as many simple tools such as brainstorming, competitor analysis, project management, and alpha prototype. The firms typically did not have formalized NPD processes, but those that did also adopted more NPD tools. We found no significant differences in tool adoption by the level of project novelty to the firm or between industrial and consumer products. We conclude by discussing the case for small firms to formalize their NPD processes and to adopt a greater number and range of NPD tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-361
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


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