Core Arguments Browse

Browse articles from Core Arguments (the 'constitution' of World Class R&D). Articles are listed on this display in reverse chronological order, by date of publication. Click here for a simple alphabetical listing of Core Argument Articles


Applicability of the Prescriptions, Key Areas of Focus

Don't be misled. Prescriptions in this website are rarely focused on any single organizational level...

When we talk about evidence gathering this applies to governance officials just as fully as it applies to researchers on the bench. One is gathering evidence on the effectiveness of their R&D investments and the other on the effectiveness of the R&D experiments. But the prescriptions fit both.
Exhibit 1. Crosswalk of Focus Areas and Levels in the Corporate Hierarchy. Core Arguments can be easily misconstrued being segregated to different levels of the corporate hierarchy, with evidence gathering recommendations only applicable to researchers, and governance only to senior management. This couldn't be further from the truth. This chart emphasizes that most of the recommendations are applicable to all of the players in and surrounding R&D.

Expand all | Collapse all

Organizational Behaviors, Maturity Matrix

SubFocus Level 1 - Limited Level 3 - Basic Level 5 - Advanced
Key Tests of Behaviors One-size-fits-all+ approach to the design of activities, using the same approaches for both innovative R&D and copycat products+ Some customization of activities in the beginning, based on idealized visions of the work, but once designed it is considered frozen Explicit recognition of the uniqueness of behavioral needs by type of R&D, and especially during key behavioral moments+
Behavior Fundamentals+ Lack of recognition that behaviors are messy. Only shallow insights into the behavioral needs for creative enterprises Recognition that behaviors are messy, with few insights on how to proceed in the face of the messiness Acknowledgment that behaviors are messy, and we defer to time-tested findings in academic literature that cover broad swaths of behaviors
Consistency of Signals+ Mechanical approaches to incentives, ...

Commentary, Maturity Matrix

Level 5 (Advanced) is based on the Core Arguments documented in this website (e.g., Governance, Evidence Gathering). Refer to these menu selections for further discussion  of the entries in the Maturity Matrix.

The maturity matrix will evolve over time. As individuals contribute to this website, and their contributions have been fired in the crucible of the Discussion Arenas, the maturity  matrix will be updated to reflect the finished thoughts. In the meantime, readers are urged to refer back to the Discussion Arenas for the latest thinking. This is best done  either the using Search, or through the Site Map at the bottom of each page (which is updated continuously).

Readers accustomed to developing or reading a maturity matrix may have found the entries for World Class R&D unusual. Typically a maturity matrix shows progress in a capability from naïveté to second-nature (see Hillson). This traditional approach has the advantage in that it allows for benchmarking or quantitative comparisons across organizations. It's amenable to quantitative measurements. With creative endeavors, like World Class R&D, traditional approaches Read more

Mgt. of Risk & Uncertainty, Maturity Matrix

SubFocus Level 1 - Limited Level 3 - Basic Level 5 - Advanced
Risk as a developmental concern Relies unquestioningly on today's faulty or incomplete risk management practices through convention, convenience or ignorance Recognizes the faultiness of many of today's practices, but takes no explicit actions to investigate new approaches, in effect defaulting back to Level 1 Takes specific counter-measures for today's faulty or incomplete risk management practices
Considers risks as a personal matter: getting paid to make the tough calls. Calculation of the consequences of making the call are made in personal terms. Relies on contingency plans or backups to spread risks across several individuals or departments Builds Proactive Risk Management into the daily activities for Governance and Evidence Gathering, with responsibilities for all staff
Risk as a governance concern Governance is silent on the value of specific risk management ...

Evidence Gathering, Maturity Matrix

SubFocus Level 1 - Limited Level 3 - Basic Level 5 - Advanced
Working on the Right Pursuits Researchers may be assigned to multiple pursuits, but these typically are disconnected and not mutually supportive Researchers are assigned to product categories and pursuits are assigned within the category - typically still disconnected Each researcher has multiple promising avenues of pursuit within his or her expertise, each mutually supportive
The decision whether or not an R&D pursuit is still viable is made at the project level, based on periodic assessments Certain individuals stand back from the fray and decide on a transactional basis which pursuits have the greatest potential Each experiment or study is designed to test whether we're advancing in the best R&D pursuit
Working Together Towards a Common Pursuit Researchers seek to optimize their stand-alone contribution to the research effort Special ...

Caution, Organizational Behaviors

Merely satisfactory work activities well-executed are better than perfect ones poorly executed...

Avoid creating disrespect for the concept of Organizational Behaviors by paying too little attention to the difficulty and expense of its implementation. Take a lesson from the architects.

Gaston Bachelard, a French scientist, philosopher and poet wrote in his book The Poetics of Space that architects should not just look at the technical side or aesthetics of their creations, but also at how their creations affect the human experience. This led to his concept of Desired Paths: dirt pathways created by people walking across unpaved fields, following their personal line of least resistance. The dirt pathways provide the best estimate of human needs for travel and show where the pavement should be laid.

One view of implementing new work activities is simply to find effective behaviors in R&D that are in most need of support. We calculate where most of the heavy traffic will flow and reinforce these as the major arteries, backfilling side paths as we gain more experience. Support effective behaviors and backfill as necessary.

Any teacher of 7th or ...

Introduction, Maturity Matrix

The Maturity Matrix maps out your long-term voyage towards becoming a World Class R&D organization...

We live in an imperfect world and this is reflected in today’s R&D organizations. We can’t just leap into the new world; there are just too many individuals that need to leap at the same time. We need practice, and the maturity matrix shows the best places in which to do this. Each of our improvement efforts may or may not work, but within each effort we find the building blocks of our eventual solution. Look to the maturity matrix to help you identify and preserve those building blocks.

In Level 1, the most basic level, the success of a R&D is entirely due to the efforts of the individual or team, without having support systems in place to facilitate their task. They sometimes succeed in spite of, and not because of the organization. Level 3 builds an organization that helps individuals succeed within today’s corporate constraints. Level 5 focuses on the entire corporate environment and eliminates those constraints. At Level 5, the organization does whatever it takes to drive World Class R&D performance.


More on Maturity ...