PhD Defence at DTU Mechanical Engineering

PhD Defence 26th November: “PSS Support for Maritime Technology Ventures: From exploration to methodology and theory”

Tuesday 17 Nov 15

Contact

Jakob Axel Bejbro Andersen
DTU Mechanical Engineering
+45 45 25 55 64

Jakob Axel Bejbro Andersen from DTU Mechanical Engineering defends his PhD, “PSS Support for Maritime Technology Ventures: From exploration to methodology and theory”, Thursday, 26th November, at 12:15. The defence takes place at Technical University of Denmark, DTU Skylab, Building 373A. Principal supervisor is Professor Tim C. McAloone.

In the last decade, the situation for Danish maritime suppliers has gone from growth and prosperity to crisis and foreclosures. The reason for this downturn is can be found in macroscopic factors like the economic crisis of 2008, the closing of Danish shipyards and the emergence of cost-efficient, competitive Eastern suppliers.

The Danish suppliers - by some considered the world leaders in terms of technological knowledge - are faced with a difficult choice: Either try to survive by cutting costs and competing on price or attempt to leverage their unique knowledge of technology to the market and build new business ventures, which are not dependent on cost as a competitive factor. The recommendation of this thesis is to pursue the latter option and adopt entrepreneurial strategies as a means to future prosperity. To achieve this goal, the area of Product/Service-Systems (PSS) is introduced as a candidate for a supporting framework. PSS holds the potential to enable the maritime suppliers to build innovative businesses based on a superior understanding of the customers’ operational activities and a portfolio of PSS offerings tailored to address the needs related to these activities.

Before the appropriateness of PSS support can be established, the phenomenon of technology entrepreneurship processes has to be understood. To build this understanding, the research areas dealing with the phenomenon are explored and an empirical study is conducted. The exploration of the entrepreneurship and engineering design fields reveals that the phenomenon of technology entrepreneurship processes is under-researched and that few empirical insights exist. A lack of appropriate research methods for researching the phenomenon is identified as a root cause for the poor empirical understanding. To build an empirical understanding, the thesis proceeds to develop a new process research tool and a related Entrepreneurship Process Research (EPR) methodology. The software-based, automated research tool is then used to gather empirical data from a large number of technology venture processes and to build an extensive and detailed process dataset.

On analysing the empirical data, three studies lead to a number of findings: The first study reveals that technological dimensions affect the process characteristics, mandating special attention be given to technology-dependent ventures. In the second study, an attempt is made to validate an existing theory for entrepreneurship process against the data. This study fails to find proof for or against the assertions of the theory. In the last study, a grounded theory approach is used for building a conceptual framework for entrepreneurship processes. As such, the framework is entirely abduced from empirical evidence. Its explanatory power is tested by applying it to a number of maritime cases.

Based on the empirical understanding of the phenomenon, the thesis proceeds to discuss the conceptual likenesses between the entrepreneurial process and a traditional engineering design process, plus the similarities between the entrepreneur and the designer. In extension of this, the relevance of a number of PSS tools as support for the processes observed is discussed. Great potential is found for the use of PSS and its tools in supporting technology entrepreneurship processes. Furthermore, the new context is found to pose a challenge to the tools, which need to be adapted and given new roles in order to support technology venturing.

In closing the thesis, the potential for research and practice synergies at the overlap between PSS, technology and entrepreneurship processes is discussed and a number of promising venues for future efforts are proposed.

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17 DECEMBER 2018