of ideas to market
to move ideas from conception, through implementation
to market in an environment of high uncertainty.
where the impact on the business can be managed.
The Pentathlon Framework can be used to describe a structured process
that removes the risk of failure as ideas progress through the 'Innovation Funnel'.
2 > Ideas Generation
to problems and challenges.
prioritisation of ideas
of ideas when incomplete information is available
where it is most needed
selection and implementation, identifying the business priorities
and ensuring senior management buy-in at an early stage.
The strategy may recommend acquisition, a new supply chain or new skills.
5 > People & organisations
tension between taking risks and minimising
failure as products and services near market.
It was Thomas Edison that said “Genius is one part inspiration, 9 parts perspiration”, so too does R&D management after the idea is selected then it needs turning into a reality. This requires a project with resource and good project management skills. Companies often to fail the change of gear that is needed to move from investigation to implementation.
There are tools to help manage this process – one approach is discussed below: –
Agile project management in R&D
Classical project management involves breaking the project up into a jigsaw of Work Packages that are done by individuals or small teams and eventually knit together as the final product. This approach has a long and honourable history and is still appropriate for many kinds of project, especially those involving complex hardware.
In the Agile approach, by contrast, a team works together in a Scrum sharing tasks in an informal way to deliver a defined output in a relatively short time (a Sprint). The team meets every day so decision-making is very rapid; and the sense of shared purpose often generates high levels of energy and satisfaction.
Agile methods are well suited to software projects, especially upgrades, because new versions of the code may be defined in stages which can be completed, tested and perhaps released, quite readily. And team members tend not to have specialised skills so the work can be readily shared.
Many companies are now working on applying agile methods to non-software projects, or at least to parts of them. Clearly, building prototypes for testing may take much longer and be more demanding for, say an aero engine than for a new user interface; and electrical and mechanical experts cannot necessarily share tasks. But some elements of scrum working may be possible especially in the earlier, investigative, parts of a new development.
This MSc thesis from Chalmers University is an interesting study of one company’s experience with agile working methods. There will be more such to come:
Read the full paper:
Scrum in Mechanical Product Development: Case Study of a Mechanical Product Development Team using Scrum, T Renisdottir, MSc. Chalmers University, 2013
Recommended by and post by Rick Mitchell.
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