EIRMA Insights 2012

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EIRMA Insight is based on the discussions of senior industrial research and innovation practitioners at EIRMA meetings. 

Here you will find the EIRMA Insight of 2012:

 

 

 EIRMA’s Insights in 2012

Adviceexperience and insights from leading R&D practitioners gathered at EIRMA meetings in 2012.
The European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA) was formed to enable senior R&D practitioners to share their knowledge and expertise openly, in a spirit of mutual support.
That founding principle was much in evidence during EIRMA’s meetings in 2012, at which members discussed key issues in current R&D management.
Their discussions have been reflected in a series of EIRMA Insights, short reports that distil each discussion into a narrative explaining the issue, reporting how colleagues are addressing it, and drawing out some conclusions and immediate Action Points.
2012’s meetings, which included, among others, the Representatives’ Round Table, the Annual Conference, four Special Interest Groups, a Learning Group, ‘EU Meets EIRMA’ and three general Round Tables, were each closely tailored to a specific themeCollaborationManagement, the Personnel AngleIntellectual Property and New Challenges.

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Using IP to share, as well as shield, knowledge

As R&D becomes more collaborative, the role of intellectual property is evolving from being primarily a tool for controlling the use of knowledge into a tool that can also be used to promote the sharing of that knowledge, through licensing schemes to make money and in more open ways to address societal issues such as neglected diseases. Working in this more flexible way takes a new set of skills that many IP managers will have to develop if they are going to succeed in a world of sharing, as well as shielding, of knowledge.

Find out:

  • How changes to US patent law are changing the landscape for shielding and sharing  
    What it takes to start licensing internal IP to third parties 
    How companies can use licensing to create a virtuous circle of support for R&D - and how long it takes to do so  
    How societal problems can be tackled using confidential IP by sharing it through third parties 
    About better ways to resolve IP disputes than going to court

Action Points: 

Here are the first three:
  • Start educating your colleagues to think of IP as much as a controlled way to share knowledge as to effectively shield it from abuse 
    Ensure that you have top management backing for any efforts to license technology out of your company 
    Consider non-traditional forms of sharing as an opportunity to do the right thing, and as a way of exploring new business models and territories
This EIRMA Insight is based on the discussions of senior industrial research and innovation practitioners at a meeting of EIRMA's Special Interest Group (SIG-II) on Intellectual Asset Management  with participants from organisations including EADS, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, Renault, Umicore and WIPO.

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Knowledge management and human behaviour in a digital world

Successful knowledge management relies on a mutually supportive combination of systems and behaviour. As knowledge is digitised, and R&D personnel are encouraged to work more collaboratively, both systems and user behaviour are evolving in dramatic ways to ensure that knowledge continues to be shared effectively. It's the knowledge manager's job to lead and facilitate this change.

Find out:

  • How to choose the right tools for online collaboration 
    The six steps necessary to ensure that introducing a new sharing technology lead to more effective knowledge sharing  
    How to build online virtual teams that can be as effective as teams that sit together 
    Which are the key issues that can undermine efforts to improv knowledge sharing

Action Points: 

Here are the first three:
  • Recognise that enhanced knowledge sharing means a balance of the right systems and the right behaviours
    Invest in behaviour change as well as new technology
    Expect and encourage more collaborative leadership styles
This EIRMA Insight is based on the discussions of senior industrial research and innovation practitioners at a meeting of EIRMA's Special Interest Group (SIG-III) on Knowledge Management, held in Brussels in November 2012, with participants from organisations including Addept Solutions, Areva, Tata Steel, Unilever and Volvo.

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Preparing HR for the future of R&D

Research and development is changing, but what about the human resources function that supports R&D by findingrecruiting and developing its practitioners? In this EIRMA Insight, we look at how HR practice is having to adapt to changing R&D practices.

Find out:

  • How to attract, motivate and retain the best talent 
    How to make a distributed workforce more effective 
    Why both diversity and inclusiveness are necessary to build an effective global workforce 
    The leadership challenges of future R&D organisations

Action Points: 

Here are the first three:
  • Recognise that the changing context for R&D means hiring new skills
    Try to ensure that your company’s value and vision mean that you can engage with potential new recruits with “heart, brain and guts
    Use diversity to broaden your team’s outlook, and ensure that the team is inclusive enough to hear everyone’s insights
This EIRMA Insight is based on the discussions of senior industrial research and innovation practitioners at a Round Table meeting , with participants from companies including AkzoNobel, Johnson & Johnson, Procter and Gamble, Shell, and Unilever.

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Applying Lean Principles to R&D

Lean management techniques have been in use for decades, most famously at Toyota’s car factories in Japan. With the continuing pressure on research and development to be more productive, an increasing number of companies are trying to apply lean techniques to their R&D functions. The question is, can principles developed for production lines be applied to the much less deterministic work of R&D? And isn’t the introduction of a ‘lean’ strategy just management code for cutbacks?
EIRMA's 2012 Learning Group on lean development and management met to discuss the reality of lean principles: that. properly applied, they can help an R&D organisation concentrate its efforts on things that matter to its customers.

Find out

  • the five basic principles of a lean strategy
    the importance of culture change in applying them 
    why just buying lean tools will not create a lean culture 
    the difference  between effectiveness and efficiency
    why lessening workloads might improve efficiency
as well as hearing from fellow practitioners' about their experiences of applying lean principles.

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Managing IP Risk in Industrial Collaboration
INSIGHT FROM SIG II WORKING GROUP RISK MANAGEMENT
As the research frontier widens, it makes sense to work with partners to develop new technologies. This makes the effective management of intellectual property increasingly important so that partners canprotect the IP that they bring to collaborations, be clear about what happens to any IP generated by them, and have defined ways of treating IP once the project ends.
EIRMA's Special Interest Group on intellectual asset management formed a working group to think through these issues and come up with a set of general guidelines on protecting IP in managing IP risk in industrial collaboration.

Find out:

  • what to do to protect your IP before you start a collaboration 
    how to manage and protect your IP during a collaborative project 
    why it is important to define how IP is handled after a project has ended - before you get there
    what to do about third party infringements
  •  

This EIRMA Insight is based on the discussions of senior industrial research and innovation practitioners who are members of EIRMA's Special Interest Group II on intellectual asset management, chaired by Beatrice Bianchini-Burlot Group manager innovation projects, patents, EDF & Giandomenico Testi Head of group strategic IP, ABB.

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Building effective collaborations with start-ups

Truly disruptive new technologies and processes tend to emerge from small companies, according to academic studies of innovation, so large companies that want to move on to a new growth path will have to find ways of working with them. EIRMA's Special Interest Group on intellectual asset management met in June to consider the best ways of bridging the gulf between large and smallold and new, and to think about the intellectual property implications of such deals.

Actions Points

Here are the first three things that you can do right now to organise for more effective R&D.
  • Discover tried-and tested strategies for working with start-ups
    Hear what small companies are doing to make themselves attractive potential partners
    Understand the role that corporate venturing can play in accessing new sources of innovation
    ... read more in the EIRMA Insight attached
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Building dialogues to enable innovation

Companies used to create products and if they offered the right features and benefits at the right price, people bought them. These days, successful innovation means recruiting a broad constituency of stakeholders to your cause and then traversing a complex web of relationships in order to develop products and services to fulfil a much wider set of criteria than just features, benefits and price.
EIRMA members gathered for their annual conference in Istanbul to discuss how to develop and sustain.

Conclusions

  • Learn about the drivers for this more complex form of innovation, from future cities to metal recycling
  • Understand the motivations of key stakeholders in the innovation process, and how align your work with these motivations
  • Hear about the The Responsible Research, Development and Innovation Agenda, and how it can be used to structure stakeholder dialogues
  • Find out why storytelling is becoming so important to today's innovators
  • Learn how Turkey and Brazil are developing their innovation infrastructures

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Enabling Public/Private Partnerships in Europe

 There’s no doubt that Europe needs more innovation if it is going to continue to offer the quality of life that many Europeans enjoy now and want to preserve for future generations.

 Conclusions

  • Can the Commission, or any other body, make Europe a more innovative place by dictat? Obviously not and the Commission knows it.
  • Can the Commission, by learning from its past efforts and from global best practice, make Europe a much more attractive place for companies to work with academia and other public actors on innovative projects? Yes.
  • Will it be enough to slow the shift of investment and attention away from Europe towards developing economies? Only time will tell.

 Links and Downloads 

 

Using Business Processes to Access Technology

The advent of open innovation has taught us that the ability to access new technologies is at least as important as the ability to develop them. With open innovation a given, many companies are looking to business processes such as venturingmergers and acquisitions (M&A), and alliances to strengthen their ability to access technology.

Actions Points

Here are the first three things that you can do right now to organise for more effective R&D.
  • Consider corporate venturingmergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures as new tools in the innovation toolbox that must be applied in the right context at the right time.
  • Use corporate venturing to scan for technologies and experiment in new sectors at low risk - but remember that you may have to look at a lot of companies to find the investable opportunities.
  • Use alliances and joint ventures to increase scale or access complimentary skills - but remember these deals only last as long as both parties benefit.
  • ... read more in the EIRMA Insight attached

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Finding your Way in the Cloud

Information is the fuel of the 21st century global economy. Those who can capture and share it most effectively are likely to be best placed to benefit from its transformative power.
For industrial knowledge managers, this is a dilemma: for a long time they have been charged with controlling the flow of information and shielding it from misuse. Now they are asked to help share informationmuch more freely, with internal users and external partners, through devices ranging from servers in the ‘cloud’ to employees’ smartphones, while still protecting its integrity. Members of EIRMA’s special interest group on knowledge management (SIG-III) met in Paris in March 2012 to discuss this challenge and the role that cloud computing may play in meeting it.

Action Points

Here are the first three things that you can do right now to organise for more effective R&D.
  • Recognise that the cloud can offer two key benefits: a better infrastructure for sharing information, and an easier way to access domain expertise
  • Recognise that the ultimate protection for your information is trust
  • Generation Y has different attitudes to sharing information and to the way that they want to work
  • ... read more in the EIRMA Insight attached

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Taking the Measure of R&D

Scientists like numbers. Businesses like numbers. Put the two together, for example when a business tries to value the work of its R&D function, and you have a marriage made in heaven, right? Wrong. The problem is that R&D is all about exploring uncertainty, so it is hard to know what measures to apply in a business context. Do you use measures of scientific success, such as the number of papers published; measures of technical success, such as the number of patents granted; or measures of business success, such as the additional revenue generated due to a research project?

Action points

Here are the first three things that you can do right now to organise for more effective R&D:
  • There is no silver bullet. What you do in one company won't necessarily work in another.
  • Consider the organisation as an ecosystem and take care of the selective pressure that KPIs exert.
  • KPIs should evolve as a project progresses: loose at the beginning of the innovation process, much tighter as you move towards market.
  • ... read more in the EIRMA Insight attached
This EIRMA Insight is based on the discussions of senior industrial research and innovation practitioners who are members of EIRMA's Special Interest Group on Knowledge Management, chaired by John Oten, Tata Steel.

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Accessing the Power of People in Innovation

Insights from Special Interest Group "Human (F)Actors in Innovation"
This EIRMA Insight discusses how companies can improve their capacity to innovate by developing a better understanding of human motivations and behaviour.
  • Understand the way that the changing demands of industrial innovation are challenging individuals and companies
  • Discover a structured process for getting the most from your people
  • Access practical tools for understanding current mindsets, readying your organisation for transformation, and mastering creativity 
  • Learn about new behaviours and roles that can unlock the innovation potential of your workforce
  • Find out about the Human Factors Diamond
Follow up our Action Points, things that you can do right now to organise for more effective R&D. Here are the first three: there are more in the full document, linked below.

Action Points

  • Harness the reality of human emotions such as power, passion and pride
  • Assess the human element in your organisation: have values become dogma; have commitments become shackles; and have current processes become immoveable routines? Are the ‘frames’ through which you see the world limiting your vision
  • Consider formally creating new roles such as innovation project managers, creativity facilitators and champions: individuals in your organisation are probably migrating into these roles anyway.
 
This EIRMA Insight is based on the discussions of senior industrial research and innovation practitioners who are members of EIRMA's Special Interest Group V on Human (F)actors in Innovation, chaired by Phil Gamlen, Senior Fellow in Executive Education at Manchester Business School.

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Organising for more Effective R&D

Can you organise your way to a more productive R&D function, or should you be considering other measures to improve R&D?
This EIRMA Insight discusses how companies can change the structure of their organisations and their underlying strategies to make R&D more effective.
  • Discover better ways to make R&D more effective than organisational change
  • Find out how the R&D function can thrive by taking on work outside its traditional scope
  • Read what one practitioner believes should be the new role for R&D line managers
  • Understand the best ways to evolve the R&D function as companies globalise
  • Learn about the role of corporate venturing in enabling more effective R&D
Follow up our Action Points, things that you can do right now to organise for more effective R&D. Here are the first three: there are more in the full document, linked below.

Action Points

  • Teach research managers to focus on enabling a problem-solving culture
  • Look beyond the organisation chart for sources of greater research productivity
  • Use transparency in the environment to improve knowledge sharing and the quality of decision making
This EIRMA Insight is based on the discussions of senior industrial research and innovation practitioners at the Representatives' Round Table held in St Paul de Vence, France, in January 2012, and chaired by Léopold Demiddeleer, EIRMA President.

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