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Technology management in complex product systems (CoPS) - ten questions answered

Published Online:pp 618-638

A new field of innovation research is developing around the theme of complex product systems (CoPS): high cost, engineering and software intensive products, systems, capital goods, networks and constructs, produced in projects or small batches. The paper poses ten questions concerning underlying innovation processes, company strategy, management, and project effectiveness and efficiency. In attempting to provide answers to the ten questions, the paper touches on the nature of best management practice in CoPS, common problems confronted (and how to overcome them), how to improve productivity and how to increase learning from project-to-project. The paper argues that innovation processes in CoPS differ in many respects from those commonly found in mass production, commodity goods made from standard components and, as a result, innovation management differs. Section 2 (Part 1) begins with three analytical questions concerning the intrinsic nature of CoPS, contrasting these with commodity goods. Section 3 (Part 2) presents six practical management questions frequently posed by managers. In conclusion, the final question touches on promising new research directions in the study of innovation in CoPS.


innovation, complex product systems, technology management, software, learning from project to project