The orchestra of ideas: using music to enhance the 'fuzzy front end' phase of product innovation

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This paper, by introducing music composition theory, offers a new perspective from which to understand the ‘fuzzy front end’ (FFE) phase of product innovation with regard to both value outcomes and the innovation process. Focusing on ideas co-created by consumers, we draw on an ethnographic study to examine how young consumers tackled a real-life challenge to produce a digital product that would engage audiences in classical music. Working with two organizations, one a city symphony orchestra, the other a global technology corporation, this work bridges innovation and aesthetics and challenges the established mind-set of the science-art schism in business management. The findings contribute to innovation theory by introducing a hybrid model that structures FFE activities based around the composing process. We also illuminate how music can facilitate and bring greater value for the consumers as ‘the composers of ideas’. Managerial implications and future research are also suggested in this paper.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-513
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date27 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • fuzzy front end , consumer co-creation , experiential value , flow experience , music composition , music value