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Third Generation R&D: Managing the Link to Corporate Strategy [Hardcover]

Philip A. Roussel , Kamal N. Saad , Tamara J. Erickson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 April 1991
Written by three senior consultants from Arthur D. Little, this book provides managers with a new approach that will make R&D a truly competitive weapon. Relates how R&D management has evolved from the naive "strategy of hope" approach of the 1950s and 1960s, when companies spent lavishly in the vague expectation that something good would result, to the more systematic approach of the past two decades. The third generation of R&D is a pragmatic method for linking R&D to long-term business planning. It shows managers how to: integrate technology and research capabilities with overall management and strategy; break down organizational barriers that isolate R&D from the rest of the company; foster a spirit of partnership and trust between R&D and other units; and create managed portfolios of R&D projects that match corporate goals.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (1 April 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875842526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875842523
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 16 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 869,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The R&D imperative for industry has never been more compelling. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matching R&D projects with corporate strategy 21 May 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is one of the great classics in research management. All R&D departments can and want to do more R&D than there are funds available. Prioritisation between projects is therefore unavoidable. For many years there was hope that by forecasting income and costs for the projects and comparing the two the most profitable projects could be chosen. Unfortunately that does not work other than for very simple development projects. This book describes the "portfolio method". The portfolio consists of projects. The projects are presented in two-dimensional diagrams. The axes of the diagram can be competitive position and technological maturity, or reward and probability of success, or annual budget and years to completion. Each organisation must decide which diagrams are relevant for their situation. These diagrams form the basis for a meaningful dialogue between the R&D function and other functions in the organisation and with top management. Another great merit of the book is that it introduces a new vocabulary where words are properly defined. Examples of subjects covered this way are types of R&D, technological impact, technological competitive position and project attractiveness. Even though the explanations of the portfolio system in the book are very clear the reader should not think that they are easily introduced. In a report by the European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA) of 95 six case studies are presented describing portfolio installation projects. Four represent successes and two failures. At least two conditions are essential for success: interest and support from top management and active participation in the development of the system of all the functions concerned (R&D, and marketing for example). It is impossible for an outsider to impose a standard system.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile Insight into R&D Management 30 Sep 2003
By Bob J.
Format:Hardcover
This is a well written book, which astutely points out the existence of differences in outlook between R&D staff and company-wide management. Although the authors have tried to pinpoint the problem areas, such as expert input from technical staff is: "...not included in the company's higher councils...", which leads to alienation of the R&D staff and the creation of R&D/management barriers, I felt this book does not quite bring to light the genuine root causes of such R&D problems that can lead to R&D staff and management frustrations. I would thus highly recommend the R&D sharp satire, "Management By Vice," (author/R&D scientist C.B. Don), since it reveals many of the fundamental reasons for the kind of R&D staff vs. management barriers and interaction failures observed in "Third Generation R&D". Both managers and R&D staff alike I feel can benefit greatly from reading these two books --- and then drawing their own conclusions on how best to manage...or rather, how not to "mismanage"...R&D staff!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Selection of the most attractive R&D projects is complex and puts strain on an organization. This book offers useful tools. I've tried them. They work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, Thoughful & Precise 18 Nov 2000
By "joilee" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Congratulations to the authors! This is a well-written, honest book, which at least addresses the specific differences in outlook between R&D staff and standard business-oriented management. I worked for many years in R&D and fully agree that R&D people do require a unique management approach. Furthermore, the authors are correct in stating that expert input from technical staff is often "not included in the company's higher councils" that leads to alienation of R&D people. On this subject, I would like to add that the book does not address one aspect crucial to good management/R&D working relationships. Nowhere is it stated that R&D people, because of their higher education and expertise, find it difficult to respect managers, who are not expert in the project's subject area, yet are frequently assigned by upper management, to make all the pertinent technical and business project decisions.
By the way, I recently read another very enjoyable book. It openly addresses many of R&D staff's frustrations with management in a typical company, which has clearly not embraced "Third Generation R&D" management principles! It is a hilarious, witty, sharp, satire that brings to life many of the underlying R&D problems covered in "Third Generation R&D". If you feel like a good laugh, do try "Management by Vice" by C.B. Don.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick Desbrow - Peperdine University Student 29 Sep 2000
By J. Patrick Desbrow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Roussel et al's 1991 text, Managing the link to corporate strategy, Third Generation R&D describes that evolution of research and development in the corporate business environment. This text provides a guide to link organizations objectives and strategies to their R&D activities. Below is a description of this reader's reactions, big ideas, implications, and lingering questions after completing this book.
Reactions
The theory behind Roussel's text is very well thought out. It offers a set of easy to understand models for developing a third generation R&D environment for your organization. Roussel present these models in an optimistic way that encourages the reader to reconsider how R&D should be managed. This book is an excellent tool for all technology managers. Roussel blends the business and technology disciples together and helps struggling technology managers to bridge the gap between these long separated functions within the organization. For example, Roussel suggests that projects must be organized into portfolios in order to manage risk and return. The concept of project management is a technology disciple while portfolios, and managing risk is a business discipline.
Big Ideas
There are a number of pressures, which require companies to invest in research and development (R&D) activities. These pressures include competition from local and global companies, as well as a decreasing availability of scientists and technologists. The pressures from competitors require companies to continuously introduce "high quality, innovative, cost-effective new products". Roussel's answer to these pressures is third generation R&D. Roussel states that there are three generations of R&D. The first generation of R&D relies on the insights and intuition of technology managers to determine which projects are worth investing time and money. In addition, there is no connection between the R&D projects and the objectives of the company. Top management only considers these projects as a required cost to the company. The second generation of R&D organizes activities into projects and measures the progress against a set of established goals. In addition, the cost of each project is examined against the possible benefits that will result from the research and development. The third generation of R&D technology managers and top management work together as a partnership to selected and evaluate projects. The goals of the organization are aligned with the R&D activities. Projects are organized in to portfolios in order to manage risk and maximize profits. When companies employ a third generation philosophy they are more competitive, more effective with a smaller investment in R&D activities. Roussel also states that there are three types of R&D. The first type is called incremental R&D. This is referred to as small "r" and big "D" and represents small advances in technology. However, the focus is on clever applications of this research. The second type is called Radical R&D. This is referred to as large "R" and often large "D". The focus is to discover new technologies and to produce a commercial viable breakthrough for the organization. The third type is called fundamental R&D or large "R" and no "D". Roussel calls this a "scientific/technological reach into the unknown". The main goal is to develop a depth in research competencies to build future competitive advances. This includes preparing for the long-term commercialization of these technologies. Roussel believes that a company needs to build portfolio of research projects that blend all three of these types of R&D to guarantee prolonged profits and success. Roussel also explains the function of R&D as a tool to (a) defend or expand existing business, (b) drive new business, and (c) broaden and deepen a company's technologies competencies.
Implications
This model for business and technology change has the potential of redefining many organizations. It also can be the competitive advantage, which determines your success over the competition. The interesting fact is that many companies will not make the change and this simple plan may allow for a few companies to rise to the top. This model can also be a catalyst for technology managers to think out side of the box. Many of these managers have both a technology and business background. However, they may not have tried to connect the learning in these two disciples together. This could be that start of a new way of thinking. It definitely has for this reader. Questions
One concern for that this reader has for the book is related to time and change. Many organizations are not prepare to consider third generation R&D as a realist option. The amount of time needed to transform a company into a third generation environment may seem to great to risk. Even the most advance technology companies many see the investment as unreasonable. How would a technology change to the company's paradigm and consider the possibility of a next generation strategy like Roussel suggests?
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matching R&D projects with corporate strategy 21 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is one of the great classics in research management. All R&D departments can and want to do more R&D than there are funds available. Prioritisation between projects is therefore unavoidable. For many years there was hope that by forecasting income and costs for the projects and comparing the two the most profitable projects could be chosen. Unfortunately that does not work other than for very simple development projects. This book describes the "portfolio method". The portfolio consists of projects. The projects are presented in two-dimensional diagrams. The axes of the diagram can be competitive position and technological maturity, or reward and probability of success, or annual budget and years to completion. Each organisation must decide which diagrams are relevant for their situation. These diagrams form the basis for a meaningful dialogue between the R&D function and other functions in the organisation and with top management. Another great merit of the book is that it introduces a new vocabulary where words are properly defined. Examples of subjects covered this way are types of R&D, technological impact, technological competitive position and project attractiveness. Even though the explanations of the portfolio system in the book are very clear the reader should not think that they are easily introduced. In a report by the European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA) of 95 six case studies are presented describing portfolio installation projects. Four represent successes and two failures. At least two conditions are essential for success: interest and support from top management and active participation in the development of the system of all the functions concerned (R&D, and marketing for example). It is impossible for an outsider to impose a standard system.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring. A book that really helps you to get results 24 Jan 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Selection of the most attractive R&D projects is complex and puts strain on an organization. This book offers useful tools. I've tried them. They work
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars light weight 3 Nov 2010
By joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this is a poor book - it seems as though the management study of R&D does not hold itself to the same intellectual standards as those doing real R&D. it's stock standard airport management text right down to the laborious 'role play' application of the authors theories in a trite story-board piece of fiction. diagrams are mostly empty space which accurately reflects the intellectual content well. save your money. surf the web, make stuff up or read about successful companies directly - trust me, you'll regret the handful of hours you spend skim reading this text as lost forever and the resulting ennui may well crush your spirit to live.
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