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The Adaptive Organization: Key Characteristics and Practices Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2009-03-20

A recent KPMG study found that 93% of executives surveyed expected changes in at least one aspect of their business model over the next 3 years; nearly half of those same executives expected those changes to be major. This rate of change will be impossible to manage without the capability to adapt to shifting circumstances. To respond to this challenge, a September 2008 summit held by Toffler Associates, the consulting firm founded by Alvin and Heidi Toffler, authors of "Future Shock" and "Revolutionary Wealth", convened leaders from industry and the public sector to discuss the characteristics and practices of the adaptive organization. The group found that cross-organizational collaboration, and encouraging innovation and experimentation were characteristic of adaptive organizations. They also found that bottom-up rather than top-down change was vital. The group identified three strategies for fostering bottom-up change in the adaptive organization.

Fewer, Simpler Metrics Are Best (And More Than Five Is Probably Too Many) Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2009-03-14

In a recent interview, Wayne Mackey of Product Development Consulting, Inc. (Boston, MA), shared his views about metrics best practices, including a methodology he has designed to optimize the "metrics that matter to R&D." Mackey finds that the optimal number of metrics should not exceed five. Frequently he sees metrics used to fix problems rather than to provide "early-warning" information that enables a company to address a problem. Metrics are a tool, not an end in themselves, says Mackey. In a contest between accuracy and simplicity, in most cases, simplicity should win. This article is available to registered users of FastTrack. Please note that becoming a registered user of Fast Track is free, and every month we make exclusive, member-only, Fast Track articles available to our registered users. Join Today!

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Resiliency: A Key Factor for Cisco’s Risk Management Process Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2009-03-13

Supply chain complexity means an upsurge in risk. While supplier failure and continuity of supply are the major risks, brand and reputation issues, regulations, product safety concerns, and natural and political events also present risks. In response, Cisco Systems has implemented a powerful, multi-pronged approach to risk management from the earliest stages of product design. In a March 2009 audio session, Cisco Supply Chain executive Kevin Harrington presented his firm’s approach to mitigating and controlling supply chain risk. A key aspect of Cisco’s approach is the concept of resiliency. According to Harrington, there are three important factors in design for resiliency: standardization, building a set of resiliency indicators, and establishing a form of governance.

A New, Adaptive Model for Product Development: Testing the Flexible Approach Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2009-03-02

A new model for product development processes, developed by Tyson Browning of the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University and Viktor Lévárdy of 3D Systems Engineering GmbH in Germany, views the control of product development projects as a decision-making process. Each decision in the process is made with the intention of optimizing the expected value of the project based on the project’s state and its overall environment at the time the decision is made Its creators refer to this model as the Adaptive Product Development Process (APDP). According to its creators, this model promises to "improve project planning by understanding the 'design space' of potential paths to success (rather than focusing only on a single one), orient the workforce towards self-organization, and form the capability to cope with many unanticipated situations."

Choosing the Right Partner: Kraft Foods and Bosch and Siemens Home Appliance Group Brew the Right Mix with Tassimo Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2009-02-23

When Kraft Foods decided to pursue an external alliance to develop what became the Tassimo Beverage System, it knew that the product's success depended on selecting the right partners. This piece lists the selection criteria Kraft used to screen potential partners and discusses some of the standards the company pursued in its negotiations.

For Product Gate Keepers Fewer (Products) Is Definitely More Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2009-02-16

“Gates are rated one of the weakest areas in product development with only 33 percent of firms having tough rigorous gates throughout the idea-to-launch process.” So reports Robert G. Cooper, inventor of the Stage-Gate® Idea-to-Launch process and noted product development expert. Cooper also reports that 44 percent of development projects do not meet their sales targets, a result he attributes, at least in part, to weak Gates. Either through more robust data at Gate meetings, or though increasing the rigor of the initial decision-making (or both), expert analysis reveals that product developers need to find a way to make more projects meet a timely demise.

Goldense Group Inc. Survey Confirms An Emerging Market for Innovation Tools, Existing Tools Focused on Execution: Part Four of a Five Part Series – Innovation Tools Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2009-02-06

Goldense Group Inc. [Needham, MA] published its fifth biennial research study on leading practices in R&D/Product Development in May of 2008. The latest survey focused on innovation: its strategies, tactics and operations. This article begins a monthly series presenting select findings from the GGI Survey. In the innovation tools portion of the survey, GGI investigated the market penetration and degree of use of generally available tools for enhancing innovation. From a larger list of 250 innovation tools identified by GGI, the questionnaire presented respondents with a list of 67 tools deemed “generally available” in the marketplace. The research found the market for innovation tools is still emerging; although tools that enhance domain knowledge represent the future of this marketplace, most of the current tools are still focused on innovation, reports GGI.

Design In an Uncertain World: A New Rationale for Flexible Product Development Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2009-01-30

If there’s one word that characterizes today’s climate it is uncertainty. Product development is an activity that tends to rely on long-term planning and resource management. How can it best be managed in a climate where uncertainty rules the day? Fortunately, noted product development expert Preston Smith has been working for several years on the problem of design for uncertainty. Smith suggests that the ability to respond to the hazard of uncertainty entails flexible product development. This article is available to registered users of FastTrack. Please note that becoming a registered user of Fast Track is free, and every month we make exclusive, member-only, Fast Track articles available to our registered users. Join Today!

Study Suggests That Knowing Your Market (and Strategy) Is A Key to Successful Open Innovation Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2009-01-23

A 2008 study examining open innovation in the food industry suggests how external partnering may be employed in a way that creates the greatest amount of strategic leverage. The research shows that it is possible for product developers to gain technological capabilities through partnering with external parties, but that this alone does not guarantee a pay-off from open innovation. The research suggests that outcomes from open innovation are highly dependent on market type; the key is to know your market and to discern the method of open innovation that best suits it.

New Research Finds That Suppliers and Customers Are Most Common Open Innovation Partners; Licensing Limited to a Few Industries Only Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2009-01-16

A December 2008 working paper of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development identifies some key characteristics of open innovation across countries and across industries. The paper by authors Koen De Backer, Vladimir Lopez-Bassols, and Catalina Martinez (“Open Innovation in a Global Perspective – What Do Existing Data Tell Us?” Directorate of Science, Technology and Industry) notes the lack of empirical, systematic research into open innovation, observing that most of the existing research is based on case studies. The paper also discusses open innovation in light of the increasingly international scope of R&D and innovation, leading to the appearance of global innovation networks.

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