R&D Organisation and Innovation culture
Organisational matters should be at the top of the company agenda in order to get good company and R&D performance. The advantage of developing innovative and well functioning corporate organisational solutions is that they create a strong competitive edge, since they are often difficult to copy. An R&D organisational design that supports efficient and effective corporate innovation is thus not only a valuable immaterial corporate asset, but also essential to well functioning organisational learning.
If we use the body as a metaphor and image of your organisation, the skeleton which keeps the whole body together can be compared to your formal organisational structures. The body movements that are managed by the bundles of muscles could then be an image of your company work processes. But to keep the body moving we need the nervous system, which we could then compare to the Corporate culture – the company behind the chart.
There is probably today still an overemphasis on the importance of the company’s formal structural organisation, although its relationship to organisational performance is still poorly understood. This metaphor is to emphasise that all these three organisational elements must be considered in a holistic perspective when improved organisational solutions are sought.
Company work processes for innovation
The development of company work processes has many similarities to the development of the production processes in Process Industry. As a process engineer, you would most certainly be of the opinion that it is impossible to control or improve a process that lacks a proper flowsheet. As an analogue to this statement you should ask the question: “How do we control our work processes and what do their flowsheets look like?”
Fostering a sustainable, innovation-supportive corporate culture of excellence
Gradual adaptation to changes in the corporate internal and external environment is often desirable. An evolution of the corporate organisation is often preferable, and the same goes for changes in the R&D organisation. Drastic changes in the corporate R&D organisation, which we usually call re-engineering as opposed to continual improvement, may sometimes be necessary but it is something that should, if possible, be avoided.
There are, however, unfortunately no such things as good or bad organisational solutions, but rather organisational solutions that have certain advantages but also some disadvantages. Depending on what you would like to improve within your R&D organisation, organisational solutions that can be expected to deliver those outcomes are sought. The purpose of the R&D organisation is to facilitate the work – not to hinder it. It is thus vitally important that selected solutions and changes are well accepted by the people who work in the organisations. Because of this it is advantageous if the R&D organisation actively participates in the organisational change process.
blinab has participated in several organisational improvement projects for R&D, in different sectors of Process Industry. Our experience is that well functioning organisational solutions in other manufacturing industry normally should not be copied into the R&D environment in Process Industry. It is thus not recommended to pick an “off-the-shelf” solution in an organisational development project, for although it can be seen as a quick fix, it will probably have no competitive impact and will not last very long.
Our approach is based on acquiring a deep understanding of many aspects of an R&D organisation, and our solutions are based on the collection and analysis of factual information. Our ambition is further to find organisational consensus for selected solutions that fit the company’s internal and external environment. Finding well functioning organisational solutions for R&D is not always an easy task, but in the end often very rewarding for the people who are concerned. Why not let us be your guide to improving or discovering better organisational solutions that will enhance your innovation performance?
A project proposal by blinab
For further information on our view of using improved company innovation work processes, please click the red button to the right.