Few companies were realising the full potential of roadmapping back in 2015/16 when the Institute of Manufacturing and Fraunhofer Group conducted a study of roadmapping practice. The majority of those surveyed said they were using a decentralised approach and it was rarely used across organisational units to enable a joined up approach.
The research team is now revisiting the study to see how the situation has changed, particularly following the advent of supporting tools and new technologies such as machine learning and AI.
Findings from the first practice study
Sven Schimpf of the Fraunhofer Group for Innovation Research explains: “Roadmapping is a useful tool as it creates a common understanding of the direction of travel. When used for technology development, a roadmap makes it possible to classify and link different ways of achieving goals in terms of time, to present them clearly and plan them transparently across organisational units.
“When we conducted the survey in 2015/16, to understand how roadmapping was being used in corporate practice, we found that roadmaps were mainly used for a time horizon of up to five years, products, technologies and projects were mapped, and that customers and market analyses were the most frequently used sources of information.
“Only about a quarter of the participating companies also used roadmapping for production planning, maturity models for technologies were used by only a tenth of the participants and, although there were numerous IT solutions, an overwhelming proportion of the companies created their own roadmaps based on common office software.
“We evaluated and published the results of the study in various forms – as brochures, infographics, scientific articles.”
Origins of roadmapping
Motorola was one of the first to use roadmapping in the 1970s for strategic planning and coordination of technological applications. European companies, such as Philips, further developed roadmapping in the 1990s to consider a wider breadth of functional perspectives.
The two most common approaches are:
- European Industrial Research Management Association EIRMA
- S/T-Plan methodology of IfM Cambridge,
Both consider activities on the level of products, markets and technologies as the basis for strategic planning. The model can be extended almost arbitrarily methodically and thematically.
A new study for 2022
Sven continues: “A number of concerns about the use of roadmapping were identified in the 2015/16 study and we have subsequently attempted to address these, for example through a dedicated analysis of existing roadmapping software solutions.”
More information about this is available on the Fraunhofer publication database (www.publica.fraunhofer.de – keyword Roadmapping).
“We’ve had our eyes on an update of the study for some time – now it’s finally here. In a team with IfM Cambridge (Dr. Robert Phaal), MIT (Prof. Olivier L. de Weck) and TIM Consulting (Prof. Thomas Abele), we have updated the questions to take into account current developments and trends.
“For example, today the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is no longer a vision of the future and there is wider use of dedicated roadmapping software. In the new study we are interested in the degree of penetration of corresponding solutions in the context of corporate roadmapping.”
Within the survey, four categories on roadmaps are covered with 3-7 questions in each. The study also asks about tools that are used alongside or to complement roadmapping.
Tools may include:
- Strategy maps
- Balanced scorecard
- Technology radar
- Technology calendar
- Quality function deployment
- Delphi studies
- Scenario analysis
- Regression analysis
- Business model canvas / navigator
- Risk assessment
The questionnaire covers:
- Application areas and content of roadmaps in your organisation
- Organisational integration of roadmaps in your organisation
- Information sources, methods and tools
- Best practices and pitfalls
- Categorisation of your organisation
Everybody that shows an interest in the study by providing an email address will receive the link to the results of the study as soon as they are published.
The survey is available in English and German:
– English: https://umfrage.iao.fraunhofer.de/index.php/931728?lang=en
– German: https://umfrage.iao.fraunhofer.de/index.php/931728?lang=de