This thesis examines the current methods of product development used in Japan and
the West. It focuses on the first stage of product development and investigates the
various methods used to generate ideas.
There was not a method suitable to generate completely original ideas when faced
with a blank sheet of paper. The Delphi Method is a series of questionnaires sent to
"experts". Until this research, the Delphi Method has always determined future dates
when new technologies would become available throughout industry. This thesis uses
the principles of the Delphi Method to generate ideas for new products using a team
of experts from many different backgrounds.
The research was completed for DCE Ltd an international manufacturing company
that develops,d esignsa nd manufacturesin dustrial dust control equipment. To ensure
the idea generation research was compatible with DCE it was necessary to complete
an extensive study into the company, including customer and competitor research
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.