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

Decision Structures, Mgt. of Risk & Uncertainty

Decision Structures take away much of the autonomy in decision making from management...

Within World Class R&D all key decisions are made within highly transparent decision making structures. An individual manager has less a say in key decisions. This will be seen to protect the integrity of decision making structures.

These structures are formal. We institutionalize key decisions to better manage risk & uncertainty:

  • Build institutional expertise in decision making under uncertainty (e.g., build decision support practices & techniques)
  • Build institutional consistency in response to risk and uncertainty
  • Drive improvements in daily evidence gathering and risk management through the questions asked by the decision making structures at key junctures.

We design these structures to get the best decisions under uncertainty.

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Introduction, Mgt. of Risk & Uncertainty

This Focus Area addresses Decision Making Under Uncertainty...

...the decision category that is most often troublesome in R&D. The Focus Area is called Management of Risk and Uncertainty since our intention is to distance this management from the individual decision maker. The Area is not simply called Decision Making due to that discipline's unsavory association with decision support tools, which are often just another cheap heuristic+.

The topic headings for Mgt. of Risk & Uncertainty may look similar to those in Evidence Gathering but the details are unique in both substance and audiences:

  • More directed towards decision making
  • More directed at practices found at the level of major investments
  • More directed at managers and officers

Never-the-less, there are enough similarities with the recommendations for Evidence Gathering that in practice they will be tackled together.

Management of Risk and Uncertainty can be a key differentiator for many World Class R&D organizations. Get it right and you build a competitive advantage.

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Compulsories, Mgt. of Risk & Uncertainty

A major challenge in dealing with Risk & Uncertainty is the prevalence of bad practices...

We must proactively crush many of today's practices before we can move on to improved practices. We tackle many of today's belief systems head-on. It often takes a new generation to reverse belief systems – so we may literally have to wait for the old belief systems to die off.

We must proactively insert new ways of thinking (e.g., tacit knowledge+, behavior fundamentals+) into the existing mindsets those in R&D. R&D compulsories+ include an intensive upfront educational program to get people to start questioning their traditional views about risk and uncertainty.

There is just one compulsory program for both evidence gathering and the Management of Risk & Uncertainty. Much of the management of risk and uncertainty come though our evidence gathering practices. However, the compulsories for Risk & Uncertainty  are so challenging they deserve separate treatment.

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Product Safety, Evidence Gathering

If we generate world class revenues, then we will attract world class litigants, who seek out deep pockets for their pursuits...

Product safety is paramount. How do we gather evidence that our product is safe? How do we ensure that safety is designed into the product or its usage? A World Class R&D organization positively eliminates known safety issues, and excels at uncovering unexpected safety issues during product design and development.

Background & Understanding, Mgt. of Risk & Uncertainty

Risk & Uncertainty is part and parcel of the World Class R&D enterprise...

We seek blockbuster+ products in a competitive market, which means we need to be far out in front of the established science. We need to go beyond the facts. We make decisions in the face of uncertainty, sometimes great uncertainty.

This Focus Area is extremely important in some industries (e.g., pharmaceuticals) and recommendations for Risk & Uncertainty are aimed primarily at these type research settings. Throttle back the recommendations in this section if Risk and Uncertainty is of less concern in your industry. If your pursuits are more predictable, then quantifiable approaches may be appropriate. For unpredictable R&D+ we rely on the discontinuous approach that underpins this section.

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Behaviors, Evidence Gathering

It’s all about the behaviors. Master the behaviors and you get effectiveness...

This includes the behaviors of everyone involved in R&D. For researchers we concentrate on the work practices and the Compulsories+. For management we concentrate on Governance and the Scope of the Pursuit. For both, we use Behavior Fundamentals+ to guide our thinking.

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Challenges, Evidence Gathering

Casual readers will readily assent – the three means towards effectiveness seem obvious...

Those involved in R&D pursuits realize how very difficult they can be to achieve. The pharmaceutical industry best illustrates these challenges. There are (at least ) six dimensions to the evidence: the drug molecule, the biologic target, safety alerts, the target patients, surrogate measures (e.g., for asymptomatic diseases), and the disease itself. Evidence Gathering across these six dimensions must tie together into a single package that makes money in the face of the competition. In the pharmaceutical industry, these variables are big contributors to what is termed the Commercial Equation+. The chart below lists some of the challenges. There are analogous challenges in most industries.