Sunday, October 22, 2006

PDMA 2006 Research Forum - 10-22-06 Morning cont. (Track 1)

Developing a Climate of Trust to Enhance Cross-functional Relationships within NPD teams (Rowland, Kyriazis)
This presentation was a conceptual framework because Rowland is at the beginning of her PhD program.

Question: How do you achieve the effective integration of multiple functions?

Rowland had some very compelling imagery to motivate the need for trust which I can’t describe in this forum ;-)

A lot of times, NPD teams are assembled quickly, before members have had time to develop interpersonal trust. What can trust come from then? Perhaps something called Swift Trust which relies on institutional cues rather than firsthand knowledge. (Jarvenpaa and Leidner, 1999)

Uncertainty: Is it a Threat or Opportunity for NPD teams? (Chen, Reilly, Lynn)
Research question: What view of uncertainty is right?

1. A major to rationality (Thompson 1967)
2. A source of entrepreneurial opportunity (Schumpeter 1934)

We think either view just looks at one side of the same coin, so we need to look at it both ways.

Exploring differences between inventors, champions, implementers and serial innovators in developing new products in large, mature firms (Simm, Griffin, Vojak, Price)

This is a continuation from her presentation last year, which was very good.

We’ve found that there are a lot of people with specific characteristics that matter for NPD. We know about stage gate models, and certainly process is important. But what about the characteristics of the people?

Different skills matter at each stage of product development. Creativity is needed at the FFE. Political skills are important for project approval. Facilitation is important for development. It’s unlikely that any one person can play all of these roles? However, there are a few people, serial innovators, who have the skills and capabilities to shepherd and innovation all the way from the beginning to the end.

3 studies and 1 pilot.

Today’s talk is about the pilot, however here are some points from the other studies.

Innovators are systems thinkers; they don’t think about just features and specifications. They believe technology is a means-to-an-end and is only there to make money for the corporation. They’re also idealistic and want to make the world a better place. A lot of them went through childhood tragedies and don’t want people to have to go through the same thing. They study both technology and business. What motivates them is being able to solve peoples’ problems and their motivation is intrinsic. They’re good at politics and process to operate successfully within the confines of a corporation. They have a very positive attitude about politics. They don’t have positions of responsibility; they get things done not by telling people what to do but by influencing them in creative ways.

They have a very interesting approach which involves jumping back and forth among the technology, the customer, and the market. They spend a long time specifying the problem. They then plan, develop, and publish post-invention.

In the pilot study, they talked to 2 inventors, 2 champions, 3 implementers, and 3 serial innovators. They then looked at personality differences.

Inventors – liked working with technical concepts and gravitated towards them.
Champions – were drawn towards customers problems and solving them; extroverts
Implementers – enjoyed working with well defined/tangible problems
Innovators – seem comfortable thinking broadly in terms of both customers/tech – systems thinkers. They’re introverts (on the MBTI scales).

Innovators tended to have strong perspectives on the role of business in technology but the other 3 roles didn’t have much.

Regarding preparation, inventors tended have Ph.D., but narrow. Champions had varied technical knowledge, etc.

Motivation: inventors driven by advancing state-of-the-art . Champions want to satisfy customers and make sales. implementers enjoy their work. Innovators want to help people.

Politics: inventors tend to use data as the basis of their arguments. Implementers are primarily administrators but don’t like politics. Champions are aggressive in selling product ideas to the customer and management. Innovators work the politics behind the scenes.

Process: inventors develop design requirements. Implementers get their ideas from others. Champions are usually not involved in the development and delegate the execution to others. Innovators can do the process steps, but because of time constraints, may often hand it off to others.

How should we organize better to accommodate the innovators? How do you find them, manage them, develop them, and enable them effectively? That’s what the researchers are looking at now. Hopefully next year she’ll be able to come back next year to share what’s she’s learned from the 20 innovators she’s studying.

She’s developing a scale to help a company identify the innovators in their company.

Some of them have titles like Research Fellows. Typically what they do is they find managers that understand how they need to work and they stick with them for a long time.

Do innovators get along with other innovators? Yes, they do. They know that big egos don’t fly in an organization, so they like to get to know people. They also have very unusual hobbies, for instance one guy has a hobby in sniping.

The Antecedents and Consequences of Procedural Justice in NPD Teams (Dayan)
Presenter didn’t show up, better luck next time.

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