Commercialization Strategy

We apply World Class R&D thinking to the commercialization+ challenge. We reach into the hearts and minds of men (and women). We want the same level of passion, dedication and commitment for our commercialization effort, by all involved, that we had in the team (and management) when they developed the prototype+. Even though there may be variations in the direction of the passions, as we'll later discuss, the level must be consistent. We do this by aligning the incentives, both economic and emotional (but mostly emotional), by tapping into the existing passion of the prototype team, and by aligning the many varied passions toward a common goal. We also tap into the many World Class R&D management tools, techniques and lessons that successfully brought us to the blockbuster+ prototype we will now commercialize.

This is all about effectiveness. Efficiencies and faux effectiveness+ are shown the exit. These are innovative R&D prototypes, often containing science or technology never before seen in commercialization. We are still dealing with a creative endeavor, and we know how to manage creativity: we just did it for the prototype. We want creative people, not mechanics, and we bring forward from our build of the prototype the many tools used to foster creativity (e.g., Independent Evaluation+, Alternate Competing Hypotheses+, Organizational Behavior Management+).

Once the blockbuster prototype has been identified and built, we continue to seek creativity within limits. Our scope is a bit narrower now than during prototype build. Our product specifications have been focused and therefore are a bit tighter (i.e., in the physical prototype). But creativity is still key. We adjust our approach to take into account these changes. But the personalities of the developers we seek are the same as those we sought during prototype build. We want individuals who think creatively, who are not beholden to the Three C's+, who are willing to discard everything they think they know about commercialization should the occasion demand; they do this all for the sake of effectiveness.

We bring new tools to the commercialization task, for example, Product Valuation+. We’re in this for the blockbuster product. Along the way we closely track changes to product valuation to help guide and motivate team efforts. We will have many team members who are not World Class R&D trained and certified. There are many more personality-types and corporate cultures thrown into our commercialization mix. We must be creative in dealing with these outsiders. We need new tools and techniques not needed during prototype build.

We view commercialization as merely a step within a series of milestones that begins in prototype build and ends with a commercial product or service. Everything we did up to this point was done in preparation for this moment. We reach back into prototype build to make sure we include all the tacit / implicit knowledge+ that went into the prototype. We reach forward during prototype build to make sure we do not prematurely shut down options we may later need during commercialization. Commercialization activities are ‘the customer’ of all the activities that preceded it. We involve this customer during prototype build, then we give this customer access to our prototype engineers so they can continue the work on our product.

Consistent with our attitude during the prototype build, we are accepting of the fact that we won’t get it right the first time. We develop a plan to the best of our ability, but we act as though the plan is merely a draft, subject to innumerable revisions. Our approach is to tack and turn based on new findings during the act of commercialization. This sense of humility applies to our work plan, to our management approach, and to the teams and individuals invited to work on the pursuit. Everything is subject to change or swap-out. Creativity is not something you plan – it is something you guide and nurture as commercialization proceeds.

This is what distinguishes World Class R&D commercialization. There are no set game plans. We do whatever it takes (legally) to turn this prototype into a blockbuster product, even if that means changing its stripes along the way. Our mantra is blockbuster, our means is ‘whatever it takes’. So our team members are hired first for their creativity, and only second for their technical skills and expertise. We hire for creativity, and we replace those who cannot help but revert back to mechanical approaches. To make this happen, we need to step back from today’s overly rigid approaches to commercialization, and to remake it applying World Class R&D thinking.


Home Page September 2010

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