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When Project Management Meets Design Theory: Revisiting the Manhattan and Polaris Projects to Characterize ‘Radical Innovation’ and its Managerial Implications

Abstract : In this paper we propose to revisit two emblematic projects, Manhattan and Polaris, with the models developed by design theory. In particular we demonstrate, relying on C/K theory, how these major projects, traditionally presented as radical innovations, are in fact quite different. In particular we show that the structure of the knowledge base (splitting or non-splitting) has major consequences. This explains the different managerial strategies of this two cases : whereas Polaris focuses on the control of the design process, Manhattan exhibit a very original strategy, characterized by the simultaneous exploration of different solutions, to manage unforeseeable uncertainties. We discuss the implications of this result for design theory and project management.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01499121
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 11:30:21 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 5:08:14 PM

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Sylvain Lenfle, Pascal Le Masson, Benoit Weil. When Project Management Meets Design Theory: Revisiting the Manhattan and Polaris Projects to Characterize ‘Radical Innovation’ and its Managerial Implications. Creativity and Innovation Management, Wiley, 2016, SPECIAL EURAM 2014, 25 (3), pp.378 - 395. ⟨10.1111/caim.12164⟩. ⟨hal-01499121⟩

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