Manufacturing Innovation: A Heuristic Model of Innovation Processes for Industry 4.0

Maria Stoettrup Schioenning Larsen, Astrid Heidemann Lassen, Casper Schou

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Despite the promising potential of Industry 4.0, the transition of the manufacturing industry is still very slow-paced. In this article, we argue that one reason for this development is the fact that existing foundational process models of manufacturing innovation are developed for steady-state conditions, not considering the complexity and uncertainty related to Industry 4.0. This lack of models built for the characteristics of Industry 4.0 further translates into a lack of operational approaches and insights into engaging with Industry 4.0 in practice. Therefore, this article presents a case study of developing a comprehensive Industry 4.0 solution and identifies key characteristics of the emerging process design. Based on the case study findings, we propose a heuristic model of an innovation process for manufacturing innovation. The proposed model uses an iterative process that allows experimentation and exploration with manufacturing innovation. The iterative approach continuously enhances knowledge levels and incorporates this knowledge in the process to refine the design of the manufacturing innovation. Furthermore, the iterative process design supports partitioning the complexity of the manufacturing innovation into smaller parts, which are easier to grasp, thereby improving the conditions for the successful adoption of manufacturing innovations for Industry 4.0.

Original languageEnglish
Article number98
JournalApplied System Innovation
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Industry 4.0
  • brownfield
  • case study
  • innovation process
  • iterative process
  • manufacturing innovation
  • process model


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