In a comparison of 14 German and 14 Japanese NPD projects, Herstatt et al. (2004: 20) report on front-end related activities in these countries. They found Japanese companies to rely on a comparatively formal approach with strong methodological support to reduce uncertainty. With this paper we try to extend and test their propositions in order to develop a deeper understanding of Japanese front end activities in the context of a large scale study. We will report on findings about typical activities such as idea generation and assessment, and the reduction of market and technological uncertainty. In addition, we will show differences in the practices between successful and unsuccessful companies with regard to the execution of several front end activities.
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