Professor Alan Pilkington
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Alan is an internationally recognised Professor of Technology Management. He joined WBS from Copenhagen Business School in 2013. He has many publications including highly cited articles in top journals such as Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Business History, and California Management Review. He is an acknowledged expert on innovation in lean management, the application of bibliometric techniques, and new product development. He is also an experienced international teacher and executive coach, and co-author of a major international textbook published by McGraw-Hill. Alan is also a professional engineer and is engaged in developing the profession as well as consulting for international firms.
PhD, Aston University; BEng (Hons), Leicester Polytechnic
Chartered Engineer (C.Eng, UK Engineering Council), European Engineer (Eur Ing, FEANI)
IET, IEEE (Senior Member), British Academy of Management, European Operations Management Association, Production and Operations Management Society (USA)
Alan’s work encompasses the application of lean knowledge, principles, and disciplines related to the analysis, design, implementation and operation of all elements associated with an enterprise. The view is one of continuous improvement and continued adaptation as firms, processes and markets develop along their life cycles. This total systems approach follows lean principles and encompasses the traditional areas of research and development, product design, operations and manufacturing as well as information systems and strategic management. In addition, he has become a leading expert on the use of bibliometric techniques to study both the development of academic disciplines and also network impacts on innovation. By examining the co-citation networks, a subject can be explored to understand the constituent elements and how these change over time. In terms of innovation and technology management, using network data on collaboration and patent technology linkages allows a true understanding of how technologies are developed amongst a group of firms or disparate fields.
Alan’s current and past projects can be grouped under the following headings:
Technology and Innovation Management
Innovation is the product of individual, organisational and knowledge trajectories. By modelling the relationships between observed typologies within each of these spheres, conditions for successful innovation can be identified and failures explained. This work is leading to tools which will help managers define successful and achievable technology strategies. This includes the key inventor project to study the select group of simultaneously highly productive and influential innovators.
A major continuing dimension of my work is exploring the relationship between corporate and manufacturing strategies in the lean journey. I have published many articles on the emergence and adoption of lean/best practice manufacturing approaches and their application to new product development and mass customisation. The main message for managers coming from this work is to prioritise the alignment of operations and corporate strategies in their lean journey. Current work concerns the complex decisions around outsourcing design and manufacture.
Alternative Fuel Technology Projects
This significant topic is being explored through a range of case studies focussing on the development of alternative fuel technology in the car industry. A current dimension of this work involves examining patent data to plot the development of fuel cell technology. More specifically, the study identifies the characteristics of the networks forming between both groups of firms and individual inventors. This allows us to build an understanding of the relationship between ideas of structural holes and social capital when applied to technology trajectories.
The emergence of service management, particularly in the field of operations, has led me to examine the particular nature of services and their underlying theoretical basis, and also to empirically analyse the service delivery matrix. Service operations are essentially already following the application of lean techniques as the immediacy of service at the point of delivery is the true aim of lean approaches. These projects involve international coordination and cooperation with other researchers at:
- CBS, Copenhagen, Denmark
- NUS, Singapore
- City University of Hong Kong
- Wake Forrest University, USA
- Hamburg University, Germany
- Imperial College, London
- Open University, UK
- University of California, Davis, USA
Full project details and lists of associated publication and report outputs can be found at: Google Scholar.