I provide here the final program for our InnovationWell workshop on Innovation and Knowledge Management in Research & Product Development which will take place 5-7 July 2006 at Oxford University, Oxford, UK. We will be examining and discussing methods and best practices for accelerating innovation, integrating knowledge, communicating understanding and supporting decision making in industry research and product development. We should have a series of stimulating workshops and facilitated conversations on the varied ingredients required for a successful R&D innovation recipe covering strategic planning, supporting collaboration, managing intellectual property, effectively planning and managing electronic laboratory notebook systems, using ontologies for knowledge discovery, subjecting R&D to continuous assessment and improvement, and integrating best practices from the fields of innovation management, knowledge management and complex systems to improve productivity. It should be a knowledge-enriching 3 days with many ideas for participants to bring away.
You can download a copy of the Program Brochure as a pdf here:
For further information and questions on these workshops and registration, please contact: Barry Hardy, eMail: barry.hardy [at] douglasconnect.com, Tel: +41 61 851 0170
A complete workshop summary is contained in the remainder of this post:
Program for InnovationWell workshop Advances in Innovation and Knowledge Management in Research & Product Development, 5-7 July 2006, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Strategic Knowledge Management in R&D
Led by Victor Newman, The Knowledgeworks, Visiting Professor in KM & Innovation to the Open University Business School (former CLO, Pfizer)
A classic cue for being locked within a strategic box is the situation that Andy Grove of Intel characterised as a "strategic inflection-point" or a "time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. That can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights". If an industry has large R&D budgets but exhibits an inexorable decline in the number of new launched innovative products, is it the case that such an industry is at such an inflection-point or more probably has yet to respond meaningfully to it? An inflection-point where its greatest danger might be to become efficient at driving a strategy with noticeably decreasing returns at a time when we should respond to the productivity signals that require a move into more effective, alternative strategies? What kind of paradigms form the retaining-walls of our own strategy-box, what assumptions underpin it, and how can we begin to consider escape strategies?
Everyone knows that innovation is key, but intellectually it remains easier to squeeze the margins and go for minor differentiation around existing products than to do something new. Ironically whilst the emergent strategy is failing to deliver it can be career-limiting to initiate conversations around innovation with the risk of triggering defensive behaviours from functions and organisations dedicated to maintaining resource-allocation and career-structures developed during periods of growth. Now is the time to review some of our assumptions. Many of these assumptions are implicit within our strategic choices and need to be revisited regularly to prevent them becoming hidden strategy-traps that consume investment to little return. We need to actively consider our hidden, and often tacit agenda of assumptions and constraints. We need to articulate these assumptions, explore their current validity and develop alternatives tactics to escape from a potentially decaying strategy box.
This workshop will include an Innovation Café approach to demonstrate a new kind of conversation that quickly leads to documented, useable tactics in authentic language. This will involve participants in two types of innovation thinking by:
1) Inviting participants to visualise a scenario where optimum confidence has been realised, and then to work backwards to define and prioritise the necessary capabilities that need to be constructed to make it happen;
2) Using reversal-thinking to pose questions about innovation failure to identify what we know intuitively works, now; and to turn it into usable knowledge to make the capabilities developed in the success visualisation a reality.
Integrating Innovation Management & Research Activities
Led by Iain Bitran and Steffen Conn, International Society for Professional Innovation Management and Enterprizer Technologies
Repeated cost-effective and timely development of new products and services is a key challenge for most companies. Few organisations are as successful as they would like to be when it comes to consistently delivering new creative products and services to outperform competitors. Innovation is often seen as a difficult and highly intangible factor for management to deal with.
Yet the reality is that some organisations are consistently better than others at delivering new winning products and services. Our research, in collaboration with ISPIM – The International Society for Professional Innovation Management and Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland, has identified in-use “innovation best practice” in leading companies that has been used to deliver new products and services time and again.
Using a mixture of lecture, case study discussions and exercises, this workshop focuses on practical methods of maximising innovation and optimising its value to the company. The pragmatic approach to the workshop ensures quick and smooth transition from classroom to practice. This workshop will also introduce and use the innovationEnterprizer toolkit for creating and sustaining enterprise innovation.
Topics to be covered in this workshop:
* Innovation in context
* Communicating the innovation imperative
* Organising and managing for innovation
* Processes for innovation
* New service development
* Managing innovation portfolios
Upon completing this workshop, each participant will be able to:
* Understand the role of innovation and communicate it to motivate employees throughout the organisation.
* Develop human and organisational systems and structures that enhance the creativity of employees and maximise innovative output.
* Deal capably with the management of new service innovation in a manner that emphasises the different requirements of successful service development.
* Optimise existing innovation portfolios by applying both advanced screening and ongoing performance hurdle techniques.
Each workshop participant will also receive a copy of the Enterprizer Innovation Workbook together with a 60-day license for the innovationEnterprizer toolkit.
Replicating R&D successes, reducing failures, increasing innovation & IP use - what works, what could work?
Led by Paul Lefrere, Open University
This workshop, moderated by Paul Lefrere, will explore how to deploy knowledge management skills, tools and systems (associated with knowledge creation, capture, retrieval and transfer) to create and sustain the personal & organizational capabilities needed to compete more effectively in R&D and in the exploitation of IP. Participants will gain insights into what makes for replicable patterns of success, potentially useful to them and their organisation. The workshop will include short presentations to the whole group of anonymised examples of more and less effective practices, drawn from a range of industries, networks and projects. Those examples will be discussed in small groups, tasked with identifying and prioritising practices that they would like to see implemented. Participants will be invited to define the required personal & organizational capabilities, particularly in relation to knowledge management; the steps needed to achieve those capabilities; and identify some of the critical success factors that apply. The wrap-up session, for the whole group, will show the use of techniques such as reversal-thinking to help in visualising paths to success and reducing the risk of innovation failure.
Improving Interpersonal Communication & Collaboration between Research Teams & Partners
Led by David Gurteen, Gurteen Knowledge
There are innumerous barriers to knowledge sharing - some of them myths - some of them very real but they can all be overcome, once they are understood and addressed. In addition, to work effectively together, people need to share common values and adopt inter-personal behaviors that help build trust and support knowledge sharing and collaboration.
This workshop will review and discuss the importance of knowledge sharing, communication & collaboration and look at some of the major barriers. David Gurteen will facilitate a knowledge cafe where the participants will identify additional barriers to 'knowledge sharing' and look at how to overcome them. He will then run a second cafe where the participants will think about the "personal behaviors" needed in an organization to ensure that knowledge is surfaced, shared effectively and made productive.
Knowledge Assessment & Auditing for Innovation in Collaborative R&D
Led by Barry Hardy, Douglas Connect & Jeff Spitzner, Rescentris
This workshop will discuss steps to be taken in the Knowledge Assessment of an R&D organization. Such an assessment initially obtains an overview of the current state of knowledge management in the organization and an identification of existing problem areas where actions could bring performance improvement. Areas to be investigated include knowledge gaps, bottlenecks, absence or under-utilisation of knowledge, lack of communication or collaboration, lack of access to or re-use of existing knowledge, difficulty in storing or retrieving knowledge, organizational or cultural issues, and barriers to knowledge sharing and innovation. The initial assessment can be subsequently followed by the introduction of new processes and tools as required, and a subsequent repetition of the assessment at periodic intervals as part of an ongoing performance improvement and support program.
The objectives of such a knowledge assessment and continuous improvement exercise are:
a) to assess the organization’s current situation and performance in a number of areas relating to the management and use of scientific knowledge and technical know-how;
b) to identify and prioritise areas for improvement in knowledge discovery, knowledge use and transfer and innovation;
c) to evaluate the effect that Electronic Lab Notebooks, Collaboration Support Systems and other IT and Knowledge Management tools is having, or is expected to have, on improving knowledge and innovation processes.
The benefits of such an approach are to:
* Allign R&D activities and knowledge processes with business strategies
* Improve productivity of R&D individuals and organisation
* Improve efficiency and reduce waste in R&D through knowledge loss or under-utilisation
* Increase knowledge sharing and innovation of R&D organisation
* Increase valuation of organisation through improved management of intellectual property and knowledge workers
* Improve quality of information captured from R&D processes
* Improve access to information captured from R&D processes
We will provide an overview and then involve workshop participants in discussion of the following practice areas:
* Assessing organisational performance in the categories of Managing Records & Information, Finding Information, Finding Expertise, Organisational Development, Collaboration, Leadership, Knowledge Utilisation, Knowledge Transfer, Innovation, Project Management, Training, IT, and Support
* Methods for performing a knowledge assessment (e.g., surveying, interviews, knowledge mapping, benchmarking, organisational structure analysis, culture measurement, social network analysis, IT systems analysis, etc.)
* Measures for tracking performance improvement in organisational performance and innovation
* How to identify key areas of weakness, priority and importance identified for next improvement steps
* Processes, change, modifications, initiatives, training etc. required to implement improvement steps
* Decision-making in the selection and implementation of technologies, software systems, tools, and ontologies - and including both new approaches and modifications to existing systems - to enhance organisational performance, innovation and knowledge management
Effective Deployment Strategies for Electronic Laboratory Notebooks
Led by John Trigg, phaseFour Informatics
Recording, processing and managing data, information and knowledge has always been a fundamental requirement of the R&D laboratory. From our very first experience of conducting an experiment in a junior school laboratory, to working in modern, sophisticated laboratories, the basic process of record-keeping has never changed. We record what we intended to do, how we did it, what the results were, and what our conclusions were. For centuries, the tools that we used to accomplish this were paper and pen, with a bit of help from scissors and glue. But within a short period of time, information technology has driven, and continues to drive fundamental changes to our toolkit. Hardly any aspect of experimentation is now untouched by computers. Yet we often find it difficult to accommodate the changes that computers bring to life in the laboratory. Constant changes in the underlying technologies complicate the decision making about purchase and implementation of laboratory systems. The laboratory does not operate in isolation; what happens in the laboratory is just part of a broader business process, and the IT technologies used to manage laboratory information need to integrate with other business systems to satisfy the organisation’s IP management. Implementing an Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) can therefore bring fundamental change to a number of different parts of the organisation and it is essential that the objectives, justification and planning are comprehensively understood and effectively managed.
The workshop will look at the role an Electronic Laboratory Notebook can play in the organisation, addressing issues such as the relationship between the ELN and other laboratory systems, the functionalities needed to support different scientific disciplines and the organisational needs related to IP and Knowledge Management. It will also look at financial considerations associated with an ELN project, will examine user requirements in the light of cultural and behavioural change and will raise issues related to technology choices. Finally, it will outline a strategic approach to successful implementation.
1. What is an ELN and what benefits could it deliver?
* What are the different types of ELN and how do they align to corporate and departmental functionality requirements?
* Where does an ELN fit in the laboratory information hierarchy and how does it differ from a LIMS?
* What should be included in the scope of an ELN project, and what should be excluded?
2. Business Case issues:
* Can an ELN be used for patent evidence creation?
* What are the regulatory implications of using an ELN?
* What are the financial consequences of replacing paper lab notebooks with an ELN?
* Where does an ELN fit in a Knowledge Management strategy?
3. User Requirements:
* What is the right approach to gathering and understanding user needs?
* What is an effective way to deal with technology adoption issues and change management?
4. Technology issues:
* What are the right technology decisions to ensure long term preservation of vital data and information?
* What hardware will best support user requirements?
5. Defining an approach to successful implementation
* What methodology will ensure a successful, on-time and on-budget implementation of an ELN?
* What is the best way to avoid common Project management pitfalls?
Applying Complex Systems and Narrative Approaches to Product Development Decisions
Led by Dave Snowden, Cynefin Centre
Product Development involves complex, difficult and important decision-making by an organisation. In a perfect world the best decisions should be prepared for and supported by as thorough an understanding both by individual experts and managers and the organisation as a whole. All available relevant knowledge, both internal and external to the organisation, should be available and actionable at key decision points in the product life cycle. Such a prepared organisation should be able to ask powerful questions, quickly obtain reliable answers, have the ability to react pro-actively and wisely to new and unexpected events, and to integrate risk and uncertainty evaluation in the organisation's preparation for the future using all knowledge flows available to it.
However the world is all too often not perfect and is inherently uncertain. Weak signals go un-noticed and small changes result in producing unexpectedly large consequences. Traditional approaches to decision support have relied on screening or filtering data so that the decision maker only sees what is relevant. Unfortunately such approaches screen out the very data that in retrospect the decision maker will realize they needed. Recent developments, driven in some cases by the information processes of anti-complexity are offering a new approach to decision support in which all data is made available at all times and the principles of serendipity and necessary ambiguity are used to focus the organization on resilience rather than stability and effectiveness rather than a blind focus on efficiency. Such systems aim to a achieve a symbiosis of human and machine intelligence and capabilities.
Although informatics approaches such as data-warehousing capture and integrate a vast amount of data, it is questionable that such an approach alone enables the organisation to make the best decisions it could make based on all knowledge it could have. We raise the question: what methods could enable an organisation to maximise its human capital and knowledge potential in its preparation for decisions it makes in the future involving the currently known and the inherently unknowable?
In this session we consider approaches that offer potential contributions to organisational development in the above context:
Sense making and Complex Systems Analysis - Sense making draws on a variety of scientific understanding, principally from the cognitive sciences, narrative theory and the science of complex adaptive systems theory to deal with inherently complex and unknowable realities of the world. The developments in this field have been funded over the last seven years in the complex and uncertain field of anti-terrorism and are now starting to be applied in the agrochemical and pharmaceutical sectors.
We will consider and compare how complex systems approaches could benefit an R&D organisation in the following decision-making situations:
A. Decision to advance product in research and early development
B. Decision to advance product into full development
C. Decision to launch product
D. Decision for action upon discovery of unexpected adverse event
E. Corporate Risk Management decisions for a portfolio of products
F. Cross Silo collaboration and interaction
Workshop registration is available through the InnovationWell website or call +41 61 851 0461.
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