Effective innovation is the key challenge for European manufacturing enterprises in the global market. New approaches such as Open Innovation combined with the Extended Product paradigm are currently heavily under discussion among practitioners as well as scientists. This paper provides a discussion of the processes and challenges in the early phase of innovation, i.e. the idea seeding, ideation and evaluation phases which take place before formally structured processes like stage-gate approaches are applied. Special attention is paid to learning and knowledge creation aspects. Additionally, aspects concerning further research directions are discussed.
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