Intense competition in many industries is forcing firms to reengineer the new product development (NPD) process in order to carry out new, higher quality products at an increasingly rapid pace. The need to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the NPD process is particularly perceived by the manufacturing firms of Italian industrial districts (IDs). Although the literature has emphasised the importance of NPD process within IDs, less attention is given to the definition of descriptive models aimed at providing managers with a better understanding of the NPD process within IDs. In the paper a knowledge-based approach is proposed to analyse the NPD process. Such an approach has been used to study a real NPD process within an Italian ID firm. Managerial implications addressed to improve the NPD performance and based on a cognitive approach are discussed.
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