Since its origins in Motorola in the 1970s, technology roadmapping has been adopted widely by many organizations in different sectors around the world. The underlying concept is very flexible, and roadmapping methods have been adapted to suit many different goals, supporting innovation, strategy and policy development and deployment. Stimulated by the fast-start roadmapping method, five roadmapping applications have been undertaken in the Basque region of Spain. The applications are diverse, including the factors that characterize and differentiate each application, which resulted in the need to adapt the approach for each case. From the five cases, a number of concepts and issues relevant to strategic technology and innovation management have emerged. These are: 1. setting aims and approach, 2. structuring the roadmap, 3. identifying opportunity spaces, 4. populating the roadmap, 5. giving meaning to the roadmap and 6. selecting the innovation focus for action.
MANAGERS AT WORK Juan M. Goenaga and Robert Phaal ROADMAPPING LESSONS FROM THE BASQUE COUNTRY Since its origins in Motorola in the 1970s (1), tech- Companies require effective, rapid and ﬂexible (agile) nology roadmapping has been adopted widely by many methods to make strategic decisions in a world that is organizations in different sectors around the world. The becoming ever more competitive. The increasing pace underlying concept is very ﬂexible, and roadmapping and complexity of technological innovation requires ef- methods have been adapted to suit many different goals, fective communication between commercial and techni- supporting innovation, strategy and policy development cal parts of the organization. “Fast-start” roadmapping and deployment (2). techniques meet these requirements; they are based on workshops that bring together the various stakeholders Roadmaps generally take the form of a graphical repre- involved, using wall charts structured in accordance sentation that provides a high-level strategic view of the with roadmapping principles to guide discussion and topic of interest, supported by appropriate documenta- capture views (3,4). tion. The most ﬂexible framework comprises a multi- layered time-based chart, bringing together various perspectives into a single visual diagram (Figure 1). Case Experience Stimulated by the fast-start roadmapping method, ﬁve Juan Goenaga has led the strategic innovation knowl- roadmapping applications have been undertaken in the edge area at IKERLAN-IK4 Technology Research Centre, Basque region of Spain. The applications are diverse, as Arrasate-Mondragón, Spain, since 2002. His research shown in the Table, next page, including the factors that interests include roadmapping, the front end of innova- characterize and differentiate each application, which tion and collaborative innovation networks in the auto- resulted in the need to adapt the approach for each case. motive, home appliance, energy, and consumer product The scope, context and aims varied among the cases: sectors. He has more than 20 years of experience in research and knowledge transfer to industry, in diverse • Linking technology projects with marketing objectives ﬁelds ranging from ﬂexible manufacturing systems to for a ﬁrm that manufactures and services equipment for supply chain design and management, and innovation the building sector (Case A). management. He received his degree in industrial engi- neering from the University of Navarra (Tecnun). JMGoenaga@ikerlan.es Robert Phaal joined the Centre for Technology Manage- ment at the University of Cambridge in 1997, where he conducts research in strategic technology management. Roadmapping is a particular interest, to support inno- vation and strategic planning, aligning commercial and technical perspectives. The focus has been on practical workshop-based methods, which have been applied more than 200 times to date in a wide range of organizations and sectors. He has a mechanical engineering back- ground, with a Ph.D. in computational mechanics from the University of Cambridge, and industrial experience in technical consulting, contract research and software Figure 1.—Multi-layered roadmaps can be development. firstname.lastname@example.org considered “pictures that tell stories.” July—August 2009
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