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Fostering University Partnerships, SAP Builds a Research Group in China Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-08-14

Dr. Ike Nassi is an Executive Vice President at SAP, one of the largest software companies in the world. He is responsible for Research in the Americas and China. Dr. Nassi and his group explore advanced, new enterprise technologies and applications for use in the emerging multinational corporate environment of the 21st century. In 2007, Nassi addressed a Management Roundtable (MRT) conference on the topic of building a research organization in China. In a July 2008 e-mail exchange, Nassi updated MRT briefly on the progress over the past year.

True Textiles Inc. Uses Life Cycle Assessment to Boost Green Product Development Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-08-01

“Green” thinking and sustainability are beginning to play a more prominent role in today’s product development processes. In many cases, green product development means far more than adapting an old process to fit new needs – it may actually mean playing by a new set of rules. Just as portfolio management and product roadmapping extend planning time lines into the future, environmentally conscious product development requires viewing a product holistically, as part of a larger ecosystem. This holistic approach to managing the environmental impact of products and processes is the basis for life cycle assessment (LCA), a product development tool that has become standard practice at True Textiles, Inc. (Grand Rapids, MI; formerly InterfaceFABRIC, Inc.)

Openness, Long-Term Focus Leads Home Meridian to Success In China Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-07-25

Sekar Sundararajan is Senior VP for Business Development at Home Meridian International a developer of furniture for a number of markets. Sundararajan has spent more than 100 days in China over the last several years developing reciprocal, long-term collaborations. Reporting to the CEO, he is responsible for such functions as supply chain management, quality management, and new product development systems. As the furniture industry has moved its manufacturing offshore, Sundararajan and his colleagues have gained valuable experience regarding what it takes to succeed in China. This piece describes how Home Meridian fostered long-term relationships and alsopresents lessons learned from this experience.

Changes in Management Philosophy, Small, Cumulative Steps Lead Lean Transformation Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-07-18

James Luckman, a keynote speaker at the upcoming Management Roundtable Lean event in October, is a partner in the Lean Transformation Group. Jim also worked in the auto industry for 34 years at Delphi Automotive where he led the Lean effort at the Technical Center, Rochester, NY. In a prior presentation, Jim recounted his experience establishing Lean at this facility, calling it “probably the most rewarding thing and the most humbling and frustrating thing I’ve ever been through in my life.” The Lean initiative produced measurable results at Delphi’s Technical Center. The number of products increased by a factor of three, while average cycle times were sliced in half. With about a five-to-ten-percent reduction in headcount every year, the Center improved customer satisfaction from 42 to 67 percent. In this piece, Jim Luckman describes the management and waste-eliminating changes that produced these results.

Relieving Bottlenecks: Lean Tips for Resource Management in Product Development Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-07-11

Too many tasks, not enough resources. Everyone in every field has experienced this challenge and its corollary: queues and resource bottlenecks. In his book The Lean Product Development Guidebook [Technology Perspectives, 2007], lean expert Ron Mascitelli identifies resource management as one of the leading challenges in product development. Writes Mascitelli, “Even the most advanced development process cannot function without adequate resources and skills being available to provide the impetus that drives a project forward. In fact, sub-optimal resource management is prevalent in almost every firm that I have observed… Resource management is the last frontier of lean product development; if you can conquer this challenge, your design process will be in a league of its own.” Mascitelli offers several suggestions for conquering this “last frontier.”

Innovation Networks: A Key to Sustainable Competitive Advantage With Open Innovation Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-06-27

In a June 2008 audio session, Mike Docherty, CEO of Venture 2, spoke about the importance of Innovation Networks as a best practice for Open Innovation. Docherty described Open Innovation as a broad field comprised of a number of different approaches. He presented a matrix with transaction vs. relationships along one axis and public vs. proprietary along the other. Technology Marketplaces (Transactional and Public), Technology Scouting (Transactional and Proprietary), and Open Source (Relationship-based and Public) represented three of the four quadrants in this matrix. These three approaches comprise a great deal of the current activity under the heading of Open Innovation. Innovation Networks, a fourth approach that Docherty believes creates the best opportunity for sustainable competitive advantage, lies in the fourth quadrant. This is an approach that is Relationship-based and Proprietary.

Five Keys to Identifying White Space in the Front End of Innovation Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-06-20

In a June 2008 audio session, innovation experts Geoff Waite and Simon Karger of Sagentia attempted to clarify the famously fuzzy front-end of innovation. The model they use includes what they call five major “hunting grounds” for identifying opportunities: 1) Discovering unmet needs; 2) Anticipating the future and being there to meet it; 3) Redefining the marketplace – what is sold to whom; 4) Exploiting value chains by changing how products get to market, and5) Leveraging buyer’s emotions through the value of the brand.

Patent Analytics Build Competitive Advantage by Telling the Technology Story Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-06-13

In an April2008 audio session, consultant Tom Blailock,discussed using patent analytics as a method of developing competitive intelligence. Blailock focused on using patent data to develop a complete story around a particular technology. Making the patent data tell a story goes far beyond locating and gathering documents – it requires telling a technology story that a multi-disciplinary audience can grasp. To tell this story, Blailock relies on the journalist’s model of Four “W’s” and One “H” – Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Management, Process or Team-focused: The Pros and Cons of Three Organizing Principles for NPD Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-06-05

Bob Becker, a former Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations for Mercury Computer Systems, observes that for any given project, an organization may rely chiefly on the project's Management ("M"), on Processes ("P"), or on the power of the Team ("T").” While each of these factors exist in any project, Becker finds that one of them tends to be the governing principle in different product development organizations.

New Metrics for Intellectual Asset Management: Getting Traction from the IP Portfolio Locked

Quick Insight | Posted: 2008-05-20

“While intangible assets (including patents) comprise an increasingly high percentage of corporate value, only 30% (at best) of patents actually provide profitable returns.” So says Amy Achter, Director, Corporate Intellectual Asset Management at Kimberly-Clark. Achter, with Paul DiGiammarino CEO of Anaqua, has authored an article in Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) Magazine (“New Metrics for Changing Times,” April/May 2008) focused on how large IP owners are getting traction from their IAM strategies. In addition to reporting that only about one third of patents provide profitable returns, Achter also provides benchmarks for a managed patent portfolio.

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