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Technology Sourcing for Faster Innovation & Business Growth Conference Highlights Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-11-05

Highlights and tips on Technology Sourcing and Open Innovation from companies like IBM, P&G, Corning, Nokia, Johnson & Johnson and others that have strong innovation cultures, and continue to look outside for sourcing new technologies. These companies are going beyond their core, exploring new markets, and investing in other companies. Their outreach is global, their strategic thinking is long-range. 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!

Identifying Challenges and Success Factors in Design for Environment Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-10-31

Current efforts at Design for Environment (DfE) tend to derive environmental requirements from either a) existing government regulations or b) customers. These two groups by no means exhaust the list of environmental stakeholders over the course of a typical product lifecycle. A recent study of the current state of DfE efforts in 20 Japanese manufacturers in 8 industrial sectors, including home appliance, business machine, automotive, construction machinery, and machine tool companies, suggests that an effective DfE effort must identify all of the stakeholders and their environmental requirements across this entire product timeline. It also implies the ability to track products through the entire lifecycle, from product concept to disassembly and disposal.

Goldense Group Inc. Survey Finds that Innovation Training Is a Missed Strategic Opportunity: Part One of a Five Part Series – Innovation Environment Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-10-21

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 five-part series presenting select findings from the GGI Survey. The GGI research was conducted between August 2007 and January 2008. Responses were received from 209 companies from such industries as aerospace & defense, electronics, chemicals, software and medical products. The questionnaire covered the following areas: demographic profile, innovation environment, innovation processes, innovation identity, innovation tools, and top corporate-level R&D metrics. In this first article in the series Goldense suggests that by emphasizing investment more than training many companies are missing an opportunity to develop innovation as a company-wide capability. If organic innovation is the proven source of long-term value then, warns Goldense, “strategically, we seem to be heading down a more risky path.”

A Maturity Model for Offshore Co-development Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-10-10

Where does your company stand with respect to global R&D? Is its approach to collaboration leveraged to create long-term value? In an October 2008 audio session, Atul Goel R&D Practice Leader at consultancy Amritt presented a maturity model for collaboration that begins to answer these questions. The model describes four stages of engagement in offshore collaborations in order from the least to the highest potential value.

A Clear Product Vision: Key to Harnessing the Power of Flexible Product Development Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-10-03

In traditional product development settings, suggested Smith, building the voice of the customer into products is straightforward if not easy; developers or their proxies conduct market research, which is then analyzed for product requirements. The requirements then become relatively fixed and the developers design to those requirements. For flexible or agile developers it is less simple since developers do not have a fixed set of requirements prior to the start of development and they expect those requirements to change. Where do developers listen to hear the voice of the customer when they do not have a “frozen” set of requirements to guide the development process? A first step suggests Smith, is to add a product vision to the standard requirements document. Smith advises adding at the top of the requirements document a roughly 100-word summary that provides “the big picture about what is distinctive about this product.” While individual requirements are likely to change, the product vision will not.

Eliminating Human Error: Beyond Process Improvement Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-09-19

Process improvement and error reduction initiatives such as Six Sigma are very effective at eliminating everyday errors, the kind that are a) known and b) recurring. But what about errors that occur infrequently or that have never happened before? Because many process improvement solutions are based on historical data it is very difficult for them to predict and eliminate errors that are unique or unlikely. The key, claim the authors, is for organizations to learn to identify and to manage what they call “risk influencing factors” (RIFs). These factors are conditions in an organization that significantly increase the risk of human error. Rather than addressing the errors themselves, organizations can reduce the risk of error by addressing RIFs – and RIFs can exist in any location and in all organizational activities.

Boston Consulting Group Study Reveals Dissatisfaction with Returns on Innovation Investments; Indicates Areas for Improvement Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-09-16

Innovative products and services are winners and innovation remains among the highest strategic priorities across industry. However, executives are increasingly dissatisfied with their companies’ performance around innovation and the rate of investment in innovation seems to be slowing.

Managing Change and Complexity: Lean Lessons from Software Development Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-09-05

In an August 2008 audio conference, software development expert Mary Poppendieck explained the hallmarks of lean software development and discussed how lean concepts derived from hardware projects might translate to the software domain. Author of the book Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit, Poppendieck’s work applies Toyota Production System (TPS) methods to software development and project management. Her work applying TPS beyond the shop floor has influenced the adaptation of lean tools to diverse development environments. In this audio session, she explained why and how software development must manage change and complexity, examined how concepts from lean hardware development might apply to software,and discussedissues related to the broader context in which software programs are embedded.

Ocean Tomo Auction Reveals Active Areas for IP Transactions Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-08-29

Ocean Tomo, LLC is a Chicago-based firm that focuses on addressing issues related to Intellectual Capital equity. A major portion of its services involves IP transactions through private IP brokerage or live, multi-lot IP auctions. Ocean Tomo has announced its plans for its Fall 2008 IP auction to be held at the Chicago Cultural Center on October 30th. Ocean Tomo’s web site reports that these auctions “have consistently drawn over 350 professionals to each event, including Fortune 500 IP professionals, C-level executives from small to mid-size companies, investors, professional inventors, attorneys and media.” This piece lists the major categories of IP in the auction and the most active areas for patents in the IP marketplace.

X-Teams Create Innovation and Rapid Change by Focusing on the External Environment Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-08-22

What is the difference between teams that perform very well and teams that don't? To answer this straightforward question, MIT’s Deborah Ancona and her colleagues have been studying teams for a quarter of a century – hardware teams, software teams, consulting teams, top management teams, manufacturing teams, sales teams – a host of teams in different organizations. Ancona’s research shows that by focusing only on their own internal processes and characteristics, teams are fighting only half the battle. Such internal factors as clear roles and responsibilities, crisply defined goals, the right membership, and effective leadership, are vital, but these qualities alone do not predict success. Why? “Because these teams can build a barrier,” responds Ancona, “a wall between themselves and the external environment.” The alternative is what Ancona calls X-Teams – teams that are externally active. X-Teams create a broad network of connections that enable them to keep pace with shifts in the marketplace, to place their fingers on the pulse of technologies, and to better understand their competitors.

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