Chapter W brings together the networked systems development context j chapter Sk and innovation j chapter Bk more explicitly. In the chapter I will review literature on networks and innovation with an emphasis on how the network structure affects innovation, and pose hypotheses meant to partially fill the gap in the literature. The literature mainly comes from the interorganizational networks, Ii3 communication networks and social
networks knowledge domains because literature particular to networks and systems development at the team level is limited. Borrowing from these knowledge domains makes sense because some mechanisms behind innovation in the three domains apply to the networked product development context as well.
The literature review reveals that most networks literature simply treats innovation as an output. It neither considers the different types of innovation nor does it consider innovation as a process. As a result, I will develop a set of five hypotheses that takes into account the different types of innovation as well as the different stages of the innovation process.
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The development of complex engineering systems such as aircraft engines involves many cross functional teams that are usually geographically distributed. These teams interact in several ways but one of the most important set of interactions during the product development phase is the flow of technical information which is largely used for coordination and problem solving. For analytical purposes, these technical information flows can be represented as a directed network. This thesis develops a context and a research design that can help one investigate the impact of the resultant network structure on innovation in complex engineering systems.
The broad context can be divided into two 8 theoretical and real world contexts. The theoretical context is developed by reviewing literature at the intersection of networks and innovation, and the real world context is typified by a modular enterprise developing
a complex engineering system. Within this broad context, the research area of interest is framed by a set of hypotheses that lead to precise innovation measures and characterizations.