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									                                                                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).
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.                                                     considered “pictures that tell stories.”

   July—August 2009           
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