Worst Practices

These practices are a touchstone for your inner beliefs about R&D management. Consider your reasons for when and why the listed practices are given the designation worst and you will be more thoughtful in the selection of management practices you consider best for your R&D organization. Conversely, if you fully adhere to one or more of the Worst Practices+, there should be some aspects of World Class R&D with which you will fundamentally disagree or at least find distasteful. For example, it would not be surprising if you viewed World Class R&D practices as elitist or pandering to the elite in R&D: after all it is World Class.

Remember also that many Worst Practices are only worst when viewed in the pursuit of a World Class R&D designation. Worst practices can often be quite appropriate given the current R&D environment. They’re an attempt to make the best of a bad situation. If you have an R&D organization that is fundamentally flawed, and has no path to reach World Class status, then broad cost-cutting measures (i.e., optimization efforts) are appropriate. After all they’ll free up resources that can be employed for non-innovative research into copycat products+ or product extensions+.

The goal for World Class R&D is to pursue innovative products, which are subject to discontinuous discovery+, and it is with that mindset that many of these practices earn their ignoble designation. Think long and hard why these practices, in retrospect+, have been allowed to find root in industrial R&D, and you'll gain a much deeper appreciation for why World Class R&D has taken the form you see in this community.

For a highly respected discussion of many of these designated worst practices in the pharmaceutical industry see the Cuatrecasas article, which can also be downloaded below.

Don't see your favorite Worst Practice? Drop us a note!


Further Reading
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Worst Practices Are No More!

Turns out that Worst Practices+ can be quite applicable for Industries in Phase 2 (maturity) or Phase 3 (decline). It's only within the context of Phase 1 Industries+ (growth) that the listed practices are "Worst". Phase 1 industries is populated with individuals looking at innovation, creativity and 'inventing the rules'. This is the home for effectiveness vs. efficiency. It's during Phase 2 that needs shift from effectiveness toward efficiency, and Worst Practices become more applicable. By the time you reach Phase 3, Worst Practices can be readily applicable. See Phases of Industrial Growth and Decline for more information.