Design engineers, program managers, and organizational leaders are likely seeing an increase in processes used to guide research and development. GGI has researched the subject since 1998 and we’ve seen a new wave of them the past five years, spurred by the need for western companies to improve their innovation to compete.
You’ve probably noticed that there is a growing interest in measuring functional and technical competencies for scientists, engineers, and designers. This trend is a response to the flattening of organizations that have leaned themselves out. In lean organizations, there are typically fewer hierarchical levels but more practitioners at any given level.
Until about 10 years ago, most companies practiced product development. But they considered any exploratory activities that preceded it to be too risky, too lengthy, and have too low an ROI. It was easier to listen to customers’ needs and then develop products that would have known markets when launched. Plus, many management programs pushed them in that direction.
The metrics most valuable to R and D professionals and executive managers are those that shorten product-development cycles, help reach product-cost goals, and indicate the capabilities of a product-development group.