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date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Boeing Corporation launched its 787 Dreamliner development program in the early 2000s, anticipating quick benefits from a growing demand for next-generation, advanced, and highly efficient aircraft. Budgeted at US$20 billion and designed by a global network of more than 700 subcontractors around the world, the Dreamliner had all the characteristics of a megaproject. Boeing expected that a collection of strategic innovations would add substantial business benefits, but that dream led to years of painful delays, cost overruns, and service introduction problems. Boeing’s previous extensive experience in commercial aircraft building was insufficient to deal with new challenges of a highly innovative program, and the Dreamliner’s difficulties typify many modern megaprojects. With accelerated technological growth, increased complexity of systems, and intensified demand for shorter time cycles, the challenge of strategic innovation in megaprojects becomes a universal struggle. This chapter presents a retrospective analysis of Boeing’s experience and offers a collection of global lessons for future megaprojects and programs.

Keywords: Boeing, Dreamliner, complexity of systems, development program, strategic innovation

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