Innovation and Interface Management

Erasmus University of Rotterdam | 2017-2018 Academic Year, 1st Quarter | Dr. Ir. Henk de Vries
Leiden University catalog number: 5000MRI09

Innovation and Interface Management

Course Description

Using fuel cell technology, hydrogen can be used in cars as an alternative to petrol-based or electric cars. From a sustainability perspective this might be the better alternative but it would require an entirely new infrastructure with standard interfaces between the cars and the ‘fuel’ stations in this infrastructure. The possible new technology competes against existing ones, the question is how to measure environmental performance, serious safety issues apply, and companies compete with each other but also need a common solution in order to make things happen. So at the supply side we observe a dynamic process of cooperation and competition between a large variety of stakeholders which should result in products (or services) that will be accepted in the market while addressing societal needs, and for which shared interface specifications are essential. Interfaces link the different parts of the system and link the system to human beings. These interface specifications should remain stable during a longer time period, which allows innovations in other parts of the system, such as the cars. Increasingly, innovation is about integrated systems of products and services rather than single products or services and this course provides you with knowledge and skills on you how to manage such innovation projects.

Learning objectives

This course aims to provide you with basic knowledge about interface management and, next, its integration in innovation management. This should enable you to develop and employ a strategy for an individual company, a supply chain or a branch of business on how to manage product or service innovation in combination with interfaces. After this course, you:

  • explain how interfaces support complex systems of processes, products and services.
  • illustrate interfaces’ roles in innovation of such systems.
  • describe how standards can be used to specify interfaces.
  • distinguish between different ways in which standards can be developed.
  • formulate a strategy for a company to influence interface specifications in a multi-stakeholder setting.
  • make concrete recommendations on using innovation and interface management to enable responsible innovation.

For each of the assignments, individuals and groups will receive a grade (1-10). The final grade will be weighted average of the grades for the different assignments.

  • Small individual assignments (25%)
  • Written exam (25%)
  • Group assignment– written report (50%)

In the unfortunate case that your final grade is 5 or lower, you are allowed a re-sit for those constituting elements for which you had a grade of 5 or lower. The re-sit assignment has to be done within a month after the final grade has been communicated. Please contact your teacher.