Academic journal article Research-Technology Management

Nine New Roles for Technology Managers: Connecting Technology Creation to Profitable Markets Requires Today's Technology Manager to Perform the New and Much More Comprehensive and Integrative Roles of "Technology Development Manager."

Academic journal article Research-Technology Management

Nine New Roles for Technology Managers: Connecting Technology Creation to Profitable Markets Requires Today's Technology Manager to Perform the New and Much More Comprehensive and Integrative Roles of "Technology Development Manager."

Article excerpt

Competitive success today demands business-building programs in which technologies generated in the lab are rapidly converted into deployable capabilities and speedily commercialized and diffused into new markets.

The leader of a technology development program, therefore, needs to assume a much more comprehensive and integrative role than the traditional R&D manager. No longer can technology be developed in silos in which R hands off to D and D hands off to market development, which in turn hands off to business development. Instead, companies need innovation programs focused on moving an evolving technology through the commercialization cycle as a continuous chain of interrelated processes.

In this article, we describe an approach to technology development that focuses not so much on developing technology as on business-building, which connects technology creation to the market. For example, consider how Aventis approaches linking technology and markets. Its executives start by seeking to identify unmet medical needs. Then they focus on opportunities that are scientifically and technologically feasible. They have replaced traditional R&D with a three-phased development approach that focuses their discovery and development efforts on drugs that will have a competitive label and are therefore differentiated from those currently in the market. The unit of action is no longer the scientist within a silo, but a team comprising multiple disciplines. The focus is on the patient, not the technology.

The research upon which this article is based had its beginnings in a 37-venture study of successful and failed ventures in a major financial institution. It was followed by a five-company, 35-venture study of the process through which new ventures lead to new competences for established organizations. It draws upon extensive earlier work on the corporate venturing process, and manifold subsequent observations of, and interactions with, companies in the field. Our focus here is not on individual technology projects, but on the challenges facing the technology program manager who is responsible for the innovation program as a whole.

Critical Processes in Business-Building

Companies that manage to create a successful business-building program develop a set of relatively simple, but consistent, management processes that cover the entire life cycle of activities associated with the new business start-up: from concept to market entry to business takeoff. When these processes are either not handled or mishandled, we observed progress to be slowed. When processes were missing, business-building efforts often failed. The successful management processes that we have observed are integrated and drive growth through the three stages listed in Table 1. For the sake of keeping our discussion focused, we describe these stages sequentially, but stress that they often do not unfold in an orderly, linear way (1,2) and that a thriving business-building program would have different activities at each stage:

* Identification and screening of opportunities.

* Introduction of fruitful opportunities into the market.

* Managing the takeoff of the businesses.

The first set of activities involves processes that create an opportunity pipeline, or register--like an inventory of potential opportunities. A successful business-building program requires a large inventory of potential opportunities and a process by which to select a few excellent ones for market launch (3). Crucial activities here involve creating the conditions for the discovery and recognition of opportunities, together with a disciplined screening process that winnows them for investment in development. Among technology-intensive companies, this is often the process through which ideas from the technology development arena are introduced to business development managers for possible development, or through which problems in the marketplace are posed to the technologists to identify a solution (4). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.