Thomas Lager’s research interest is focused on the topical area of “Management of Innovation and Production in the Process Industries.” Please refer to the following section “Academic publications” for previous publications.  His present on-going research is targeting the three following the areas:

In search of a product innovation work process for non-assembled products

In a review of the extant literature on product innovation work processes and best practice innovation of non-assembled products, an integrated conceptual framework has been developed. The novel framework is proposed to guide and invigorate company development and design of “individualized” product innovation work processes more adapted to process-industrial contextual and innovation conditions. Due to the coupling between products and the production systems in the process industries, it is concluded that development of new products must be better integrated with the development of necessary production capabilities in an end-to-end work process perspective. Research on fuzzy front-end of process-industrial product innovation has been amalgamated but it is demonstrated that more attention should be paid to industrialization and market launch; here denominated the bumpy back-end (Lager and Simms, in press).

A platform-based production and product design philosophy for non-assembled products.

Current platform development theoretical frameworks for assembled products are not applicable in the process industries; therefore, a new definition of “platform-based product design” in a process-industrial context has been proposed (Lager, 2017)

Platform-based production and design of non-assembled products involves the identification and exploitation of the shared logics and commonalities of a firm’s products, production technologies and raw materials, in order to achieve leveraged product variety and other customer offerings, while maintaining economies of scale and scope of its production capabilities.

The structural components of such a Production platform include a Product platform and related Process- and Raw material platforms, delivering a family of derivate products supplying different market segments.

The results from a recent inquiry (Lager & Samuelsson, 2018) support the further development and industrialization of the above conceptual framework, and the following research questions have been outlined for this on-going multiple case study (Samuelsson & Lager, 2019)

How can the conceptual framework be developed into an instrument for analyzing company production platform architectures, focusing on general production capabilities, operational efficiency and investments? How can the conceptual framework and supportive methodological tools be developed and industrialized into a company tool for platform-based product family design of non-assembled products in managing product variety under operational constraints?

Cultivating a sustainable innovation-oriented corporate culture of excellence

The overall goal with this research is to demystify the corporate innovation culture construct, making it visible, discussable, and actionable and make the area of corporate innovation culture a regular element of the theory and practice of company professional innovation management. Moreover, to supply a solid fact-based platform, supportive “infrastructure” and “tool box” of organizational improvement solutions for innovation culture enhancement or even new cultural paradigms. Furthermore to provide a map of the complex company innovation cultural terrain, including the diversity of functional and national sub-cultures, and supply an instrument for measuring cultural change over time