A framework for exploiting electronic documentation in support of innovation processes

Uys, J. W. (2010-03)

Thesis (PhD (Industrial Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The crucial role of innovation in creating sustainable competitive advantage is widely recognised in industry today. Likewise, the importance of having the required information accessible to the right employees at the right time is well-appreciated. More specifically, the dependency of effective, efficient innovation processes on the availability of information has been pointed out in literature. A great challenge is countering the effects of the information overload phenomenon in organisations in order for employees to find the information appropriate to their needs without having to wade through excessively large quantities of information to do so. The initial stages of the innovation process, which are characterised by free association, semi-formal activities, conceptualisation, and experimentation, have already been identified as a key focus area for improving the effectiveness of the entire innovation process. The dependency on information during these early stages of the innovation process is especially high. Any organisation requires a strategy for innovation, a number of well-defined, implemented processes and measures to be able to innovate in an effective and efficient manner and to drive its innovation endeavours. In addition, the organisation requires certain enablers to support its innovation efforts which include certain core competencies, technologies and knowledge. Most importantly for this research, enablers are required to more effectively manage and utilise innovation-related information. Information residing inside and outside the boundaries of the organisation is required to feed the innovation process. The specific sources of such information are numerous. Such information may further be structured or unstructured in nature. However, an ever-increasing ratio of available innovation-related information is of the unstructured type. Examples include the textual content of reports, books, e-mail messages and web pages. This research explores the innovation landscape and typical sources of innovation-related information. In addition, it explores the landscape of text analytical approaches and techniques in search of ways to more effectively and efficiently deal with unstructured, textual information. A framework that can be used to provide a unified, dynamic view of an organisation‟s innovation-related information, both structured and unstructured, is presented. Once implemented, this framework will constitute an innovation-focused knowledge base that will organise and make accessible such innovation-related information to the stakeholders of the innovation process. Two novel, complementary text analytical techniques, Latent Dirichlet Allocation and the Concept-Topic Model, were identified for application with the framework. The potential value of these techniques as part of the information systems that would embody the framework is illustrated. The resulting knowledge base would cause a quantum leap in the accessibility of information and may significantly improve the way innovation is done and managed in the target organisation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die belangrikheid van innovasie vir die daarstel van „n volhoubare mededingende voordeel word tans wyd erken in baie sektore van die bedryf. Ook die belangrikheid van die toeganklikmaking van relevante inligting aan werknemers op die geskikte tyd, word vandag terdeë besef. Die afhanklikheid van effektiewe, doeltreffende innovasieprosesse op die beskikbaarheid van inligting word deurlopend beklemtoon in die navorsingsliteratuur. „n Groot uitdaging tans is om die oorsake en impak van die inligtingsoorvloedverskynsel in ondernemings te bestry ten einde werknemers in staat te stel om inligting te vind wat voldoen aan hul behoeftes sonder om in die proses deur oormatige groot hoeveelhede inligting te sif. Die aanvanklike stappe van die innovasieproses, gekenmerk deur vrye assosiasie, semi-formele aktiwiteite, konseptualisering en eksperimentasie, is reeds geïdentifiseer as sleutelareas vir die verbetering van die effektiwiteit van die innovasieproses in sy geheel. Die afhanklikheid van hierdie deel van die innovasieproses op inligting is besonder hoog. Om op „n doeltreffende en optimale wyse te innoveer, benodig elke onderneming „n strategie vir innovasie sowel as „n aantal goed gedefinieerde, ontplooide prosesse en metingskriteria om die innovasieaktiwiteite van die onderneming te dryf. Bykomend benodig ondernemings sekere innovasie-ondersteuningsmeganismes wat bepaalde sleutelaanlegde, -tegnologiëe en kennis insluit. Kern tot hierdie navorsing, benodig organisasies ook ondersteuningsmeganismes om hul in staat te stel om meer doeltreffend innovasie-verwante inligting te bestuur en te gebruik. Inligting, gehuisves beide binne en buite die grense van die onderneming, word benodig om die innovasieproses te voer. Die bronne van sulke inligting is veeltallig en hierdie inligting mag gestruktureerd of ongestruktureerd van aard wees. „n Toenemende persentasie van innovasieverwante inligting is egter van die ongestruktureerde tipe, byvoorbeeld die inligting vervat in die tekstuele inhoud van verslae, boeke, e-posboodskappe en webbladsye. In hierdie navorsing word die innovasielandskap asook tipiese bronne van innovasie-verwante inligting verken. Verder word die landskap van teksanalitiese benaderings en -tegnieke ondersoek ten einde maniere te vind om meer doeltreffend en optimaal met ongestruktureerde, tekstuele inligting om te gaan. „n Raamwerk wat aangewend kan word om „n verenigde, dinamiese voorstelling van „n onderneming se innovasieverwante inligting, beide gestruktureerd en ongestruktureerd, te skep word voorgestel. Na afloop van implementasie sal hierdie raamwerk die innovasieverwante inligting van die onderneming organiseer en meer toeganklik maak vir die deelnemers van die innovasieproses. Daar word verslag gelewer oor die aanwending van twee nuwerwetse, komplementêre teksanalitiese tegnieke tot aanvulling van die raamwerk. Voorts word die potensiele waarde van hierdie tegnieke as deel van die inligtingstelsels wat die raamwerk realiseer, verder uitgewys en geillustreer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/1449
This item appears in the following collections: