Sunday, May 14, 2006

Organizing for innovative product development - Prof.Tom Allen

Very interesting class .
The approach is very different from what the run of the mill management consultants in the market take.
The professors approach stands out because of his highly scientific and analytical treatment of
an intrinsically subjective topic .
Some of the principles learnt are summarized below.
1.Communication takes place for 3 reasons -coordination,information and inspiration .
2.Innovation brings together the market and thetechnology .
3.Time and coordination can be interchanged. Shorter the time (needed to complete a project) greater the coordination.
4.Remove specialists from their departments and assign to project teams for better innovation .
5.department vs. projects - departments are closer to technology , projects are closer to the customers. Power and glory may tend to shift to the departments since they are closer to the customers.
6.Rate of innovation vs. interdependencies in product structure determine how R&D should be organized. A third factor is project duration.
7.physical layout of the building should facilitate concentration and communication BOTH.
8.sources of ideas - internal - low quantity,high quality ideas. external - high quantity , low quality ideas. Still people consult external sources more often . Negative impedence at the boundary of the external source. High internal impedence.
9. Most information comes through personal contact.
10.Gatekeepers-Both high technical performers and high communicators.Beware -Visiting foreign engineers and scientists may not have local rapport and hence may not be goodgatekeepers in spite of their good foreign contacts . Instead a better method is to take a personal who has good local contactsand send him/her abroad for a while to develop foreign contacts.Other characteristics of gatekeepers are visibility andapproachability.
11.Dual ladder system - Do not make the technical ladder a dumping ground for failed managers.
12.Performance of project teams drops after 3 years .Keep the team young by rotating people.When managing an old team , be hard nosed .Give stiff targets to senior persons in the team.
13.Probability of email/phone communication is high if probability of face to face communication is high.We only email/phone those whom we talk to .
14.Beware of bandwidth limitations of emails and phones . This restricts the ability to convey complex information.
15.Vertical separation is disastrous for communication .
16.Visual contact between floors.
17.Science , technology and the customer linkage.

1 comment:

Aparna said...

Welcome, Vinay!

Good points from Tom Allen's class.

PS: Can you re-format the list in this post, it appears all blob-by.