Integrated Business, Technical, HR, and IP Planning


Integrated Strategies Overview


Why have Integrated Strategies between various functional groups of a company? The “Stampedes” figure says it all. So given the need, Integrated strategies and road-maps are often appropriately found in CTO’s written objectives. As a quick overview of how integrated strategies are derived the following overview of the process is provided.

The first step is that strategies are derived from a company’s progress along its business and technology maturity curves. This is shown in the “Corporate Actions to Take Along the Business or Technology Maturity Curve” figure.

Corporate Actions to Take Along the Business or Technology Maturity Curve

This is the standard textbook maturity curve which shows business sales or technology utilization is a function of time cues that early on as low adoption and low sales which requires product innovation and as the market develops and grows require more process innovation and investment. Only the peak is reached to which they technology busy become cash cows in new areas of opportunity must be found to sustain the company’s performance. Key as well as appropriately harvesting technologies and business models of use while selling or discarding the rest.

Market Share and Growth Are Used To Set Strategy

The next step is to combine a company’s market share along with the market growth rates to set the technology and intellectual property strategies. This is shown in the “Market Share and Growth Are Used To Set Strategy” figure.

In this example the four divisional strategies of a Corporation are all growing around the 10% rate yet because of their market share versus largest competitor have very different business and technical strategies.

Deriving Product Line Needs

The next step towards building and integrated strategies to combine the product line needs and typical market share strategy against the business maturity curve pinned up with very specific new business development and technology project selection criteria. This is shown in the “Deriving Product Line Needs” figure.

Getting closer now to the elements needed to complete an integrated set of strategies we now include the business drivers that set specific strategic and road-map objectives. This is shown in the “Business Drivers And Experience Curves Set Strategic Objectives” figure.

Business Drivers And Experience Curves Set Strategic Objectives

Here the consumer complement or drivers are matched to the product drivers are attributes that the technical group will need to take into account is this is done the maturity curves based on log-log plots are set to predict elements such as weight sizing cost targets for new projects. These forecasting tools do a good job of making sure that the technology objectives a robust enough to assure an advantaged position upon market entry.

Interwoven Strategies and Road-maps

All of these individual strategies, analysis documents, and road-maps are then checked for internal consistency. This is shown in the “Interwoven Strategies and Road-maps” figure. It’s at this point a timing is brought into a strategic thought process so that market entry of new products hits the targeted first mover or fast follower business requirement. Winking these documents ties the market and product developments together.

To be sure that a company obtains the maximum returns on its investments it must maintain a dynamic integration and alignment of R&D, licensing, and business needs. This means it must (1) use a combination of secured intellectual assets being licensed out to the industry (preferably as a standard) on the base business, (2) utilizing rights secured and restricted to its own organization for next generation business, and (3) for embryonic businesses making sure that the latest innovation is fully secured as trade secrets or patents (with no leakage allowed). These elements can be shown in the “IP Influences Both Plans and Goals” figure.

IP Influences Both Plans and Goals
Integrated Road-maps

The result of all these efforts is an integrated strategic plan. A block diagram view is shown in the “Integrated Road-maps” figure. What is important is that the deliverables should include an advantage position that can be sustained over time.

Using Corporate Sustainability as an Integration Vehicle

In their final report of their 8-year study of how corporations address sustainability, MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group examined the crossroads at which sustainability finds itself in 2017. At this time, despite sociopolitical upheaval that threatens to reverse key gains, their research showed that companies can develop workable — and profitable — sustainability strategies to reduce their impact on the global environment by incorporating 8 key lessons.

Despite significant progress, corporate sustainability has arrived at a crossroads. In one direction, corporate leaders in sustainability remain a minority, and are unevenly distributed across geographies and industries. In the other direction, a handful of standout companies are demonstrating that sustainability can be a driver of innovation, efficiency, and lasting business value. Populist political movements around the world threaten to set back global diplomatic progress on issues like climate change and reverse recent regulatory trends. All of this complicates the calculus of corporate leaders and their sustainability strategies.

Key Lessons

Key Lesson #1: Set your sustainability vision and ambition: 90% of executives see sustainability as important, but only 60% of companies have a sustainability strategy.
Key Lesson #2: Focus on material issues: Companies that focus on material issues report up to 50% added profit from sustainability. Those that don’t focus on their material issues struggle to add value from their sustainability activities. “Strategies” that focus on biking programs, recycling drives, or a CEO’s pet philanthropy have little impact on the business and the larger sustainability issues that matter most. These are not strategies for making the business sustainable over time. “If you’re a bank and you’ve got an energy-savings program and you’re in LEED platinum buildings, investors aren’t going to care,” says Arabesque’s Eccles. “But if the bank’s loan portfolio has a bunch of ESG risk and stranded assets … those are things that are material.” Another example is Patagonia Inc., a company that connects its sustainability strategy with material business issues. As a leading textile manufacturer and retailer, Patagonia recycles plastic waste into its innovative fabrics and, with its Worn Wear motto, “Better than new,” encourages its customers to mend and repair Patagonia clothing rather than throwing it out and buying new.28 From 2008 to 2015, Patagonia had a compound annual growth in revenues of 14%, while profits surged 300% during this period. It also contributes 1% of annual revenues to nonprofit organizations that promote conservation of the natural environment their outdoor customers love.
Key Lesson #3: Set up the right organization to achieve your ambition: Building sustainability into business units doubles an organization’s chance of profiting from its sustainability activities.
Key Lesson #4: Explore business model innovation opportunities: Nearly 50% of companies have changed their business models as a result of sustainability opportunities.
Key Lesson #5: Develop a clear business case for sustainability: While 60% of companies have a sustainability strategy, only 25% have developed a clear business case for their sustainability efforts.
Key Lesson #6: Get the board of directors on board: 86% of respondents agreed that boards should play a strong role in their company’s sustainability efforts, but only 48% say their CEOs are engaged, and fewer (30%) agreed that their sustainability efforts had strong board-level oversight.
Key Lesson #7: Develop a compelling sustainability value-creation story for investors: 75% of executives in investment companies think sustainability performance should be considered in investment decisions, but only 60% of corporate executives think investors care about sustainability performance.
Key Lesson #8: Collaborate with a variety of stakeholders to drive strategic change: 90% of executives believe collaboration is essential to sustainability success, but only 47% say their companies collaborate strategically.

Using Sales and Sales Techniques as an Integration Vehicle

One of the best books to specifically examine the high value product or service sales by researching successful sales calls was “Spin Selling”. R&D and New Business Development professionals can use the techniques described see if their new ideas are ultimately going to be sellable. Getting this insight early in the development process is critical. The technique is best used via joint sales calls with experienced sales professionals.

This model is broadly a sequence. Generally, for example, most sales discussions begin by establishing some background information using Situation Questions. Then the seller usually uncovers one or more problems. Unless the buyer volunteers these problems it is likely that the seller uncovers them using Problem Questions. Top salespeople don’t jump in with solutions at this point, but rather explore the problem. And they build the pain a little. To do so it’s likely they will ask Implication Questions. Finally the discussion turns to solutions and that’s were successful people ask Need-Payoff Questions. In more detail these questions are:

Situation Questions. Definition: finding out facts about the buyers existing situation. Examples: how many people do you employ at this location? Can you tell me how the system is configured? Impact: the least powerful of the spin questions. Negative relationship to success. Most people ask too many. Advice: eliminate unnecessary situation questions by doing your homework in advance.

Problem questions. Definition: asking about problems, difficulties or dissatisfactions that the buyer’s experiencing with the existing solution. Examples: what makes this operation difficult? Which parts of the system create errors? Impact more powerful than situation questions. People ask more problem questions as they become more experienced at selling. Advice: think of your products or services in terms of problems they solve for buyers, not in terms of the details are characteristics to product possesses.

Implication Questions. Definition: asking about the consequences or effects of a buyers problems, difficulties, or dissatisfactions. Examples: what effect does that problem have on output? Could that lead to added cost? Impact: the most powerful of all spin questions. Top salespeople ask lots of Implication Questions. Advice: these questions are the hardest to ask. Think of the implication questions you might have and plan them carefully before key calls.

Need-Payoff Questions. Definition: asking about the value or usefulness of a proposed solution. Examples: how would a quieter printer help? If we did that how much could you save? Impact: versatile questions used a great deal by top salespeople. Positive impact on customers. Customers rate calls high that contain Need-Payoff Questions as helpful and constructive. Advice: use questions to get buyers to tell you the benefits that your solution can offer.

Paying particular attention to Problem and Implication Questions during buyer discussions around new products offers insight into how the product might be modified / pivoted to increase its value before final launch.

Another good technique for utilizing sales calls to support product development is to observe and track rapport with buyers during the sales process. This is done by using the basic concepts of neurolinguistic programming applied to salesmanship. “Frogs Into Princes” is a good resource to learn how to do this.

Cost Time Quality Trade-Offs

The broad model in this case is: gain rapport, identify needs, establish criteria, harness objectives, check rapport, offer plan, gather objections, respond appropriately, request action, and follow-up. Part of the technique also utilizes the triangle shown in the “Cost Time Quality Trade-Offs” figure. This cost/time/quality triangle is used to prioritize the three variables. Having buyers place their trade-offs as a dot on the triangle gives real insight to the product development team for the sweet spot in the market. Again the best use of these techniques is to integrate the technical and business development personnel with experienced sales personnel.

Context of a Complete and Compelling Opportunity

Another tool to consider when integrating sales with R&D deals with “knowing when a product is complete”. Too many innovation efforts have squandered countless hours of dedicated effort and precious resources only to discover that one or more the four basic elements was missing, or the profit potential just isn’t there. Sometimes there is no real need. Sometimes there is no good way of satisfying the need. Cost is prohibitive. Knowing whether an opportunity is complete or not takes a lot of work. The “Context of a Complete and Compelling Opportunity” figure shows these four elements. The figure also shows the two elements that make a compelling opportunity as arrows. Opportunities are all about timing and conditions. That’s why the expression window of opportunity works so well. The window can be opened or closed. The ripeness of the opportunity depends upon the conditions affecting these variables. What makes an opportunity compelling has to do with whether the time is right and the conditions are favorable for needed change. The overwhelming majority of successful innovations exploit change according to Drucker. Innovators need to know what to look for and how to recognize what makes an opportunity compelling. That’s why the sales techniques outlined above are so essential for innovators to master.

Integrated Competitor Road-maps

The competitor roadmaps need to show a good overall view of their strengths, weaknesses, and trends. A good one page or one graphic summary consistent with the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) guidelines is shown in the “Competitor Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends” figure.

Competitor Strengths, Weaknesses And Trends

Integrated Technology Program and Project Plans

Program and Project roadmaps are constructed so that both the optimal as well as competing efforts can be seen. It’s important however to superimpose on these roadmaps integrated view that looks at other elements as shown in the “Integrated Road-maps” figure. (Note: figure repeated).

Integrated Road-maps

In addition to these elements showing an integrated view of the landscape it’s important to consider whether or not a project when undertaken would be able to sustain an advantaged position. It’s also important to understand whether there will be freedom to operate if a product is developed. Ways to combine what a consumer will see and experience (by way of relative product performance) versus what manufacturing and the company will experience (by way of its costs) is shown in the “Integrated Intellectual Property Performance Versus Cost Diagrams” figure. Superimposed on this bubble diagram are color-coded boundaries. These indicate whether areas of already been fenced off with patent fences. Red boundaries indicate the field is closed and that entry will be extremely difficult because of an existing intellectual property position of another. Orange means that the area is constrained by existing patents and it will be difficult but possible to enter. Green means that the area will be open for another company to introduce a product and likely be able to sustain its advantage position with new patents.

Integrated Intellectual Property Performance Versus Cost Diagrams

In the “Integrated Intellectual Property Performance Versus Cost Diagrams” figure the technology performance is shown on the y-axis position. These are the performance attributes that a customer will see and experience. The x-axis shows the business position by way of the costs that it will take for a company to bring the product into a consumer’s hands.

This particular figure your approach is located in the central regions of the mapper can have IP issues. This is mostly because of the intellectual asset management sophistication of one key player which is locked out these positions are many buddy else being able to compete in this area. This leaves only the four corners is open areas for new research project. Depending upon the company’s market branding and positioning they have a choice of either being in the high-performance high-cost area, the low performance low-cost area, or entering the high-value area with brand-new technology in the upper left.

Integrated Human Resources and Cultural Change Strategies

From a strategic standpoint human resource strategy is often about organizational change. One of the best models to use when changing an organization is that developed by Edward Deming is part of the quality improvement of the 1960s to 1990s. What his research found is the changing an organization’s culture is a seven-year process. It starts with (1) studying the system, followed by (2) developing measures and metrics, (3) understanding and (4) removing sources of variability, followed by (5) understanding drivers of the average behavior and (6) improving that behavior, culminating in (7) stabilizing the system on continuous improvement. The process is outlined in the “Example Human Resources and Cultural Strategic Plan” figure.

Example Human Resources and Cultural Strategic Plan

Important in Demming’s change process is that the whole is only as strong as its weakest link. In each year of the change process, attention and support needs to be applied to those departments and functional areas making the slowest progress.

Conceptual Model of Faith

When undertaking change in R&D or new business development organizations concept often neglected is that of faith. “Faith” is a concept that is often dismissed in business, as though faith and science were polar opposites. It doesn’t work unless and until put to use. When faith is exercised it expands in four different dimensions. (1) Trust turns into commitment. When there is sufficient trust between and among participants the commitment to do something becomes possible. (2) Competence transforms into courage. When enough confidence builds up, we’re encouraged, or able to encourage others, to do the next right thing. (3) Hope translates into participation or engagement. With sufficient hope faith morphs into engaged in focused minds and hearts to become immersed in what needs to be done. (4) Belief extends into vision. And finally when belief becomes conviction, our minds can envision where intentions lead us. Good R&D leaders understand the cycle and track where their organization is in the model throughout a change process. This is shown schematically in the “Conceptual Model of Faith” figure.

Finally, when integrating all business functions as part of innovation teams those organizations and teams have to become more unified, responsive, and intelligent. Storytelling is a management technique championed by gurus including Peter Senge, Tom Peters and Larry Prusak. Stephen Denning, an innovator in the new discipline of organizational storytelling, feel stories that change people (springboard stories) have a certain shape and form. There are three essential keys:

Of these the third most important element is connectedness. Connectedness: The springboard story, however condensed, has to link the audience with a positive controlling idea and a protagonist with whom the audience empathizes.

The second key element is strangeness. Strangeness: A springboard story must violate the listener’s expectations in some way. They involve a certain element of surprise or incongruity.

Making the story strange but not too strange entails a story that is close to home, but not too close. The analogy must be tight but not too tight. So the story must have some comprehensibility. Comprehensibility: the story has to embody the idea so as to spring the listener into a new level of understanding.

Storytelling is also a key element in integrating organizations. People need to understand their relationships to one another and the work at hand. It’s important to note that stores in printed form have a very different reality from stories told in person. Printed stories may be scarcely alive. To create springboard impact, people have to live with the stories. In following a story, our understanding is not of some material object that we observe or some artifact that we set apart. In performance, the object and subject come together as one, the story tellers mind, story and listener, all one inseparable entity. Mastering the performance space can help in formal storytelling with most difficult audiences.

With the springboard story it is not the analysis that needs to ream be removed from presentations, but rather the the analysis needs to be integrated in, and subordinated to, the story. Any analysis should build on the story, be related to the story, and flow from the story. In this way, we experience the analysis from inside as a participant immersed in it, rather than kind of as a lawyer, looking in from the outside, with curiosity but little empathy. The springboard story is not the solution to the problems, but they can spark the audience to discover solutions for themselves.

When designing a springboard story presentation there are four main options to consider:
1. Immediacy: launching into a story at the outset has been proven effective, even when it isn’t a direct answer to the question (or presentation topic) that had been proposed.
2. Serendipity: when we are not too sure of the follow-up actions we want from the presentation, the telling of multiple stories can help enhance the chances of the audience co-creating the follow-up items.
3. Sensitization: stark delineation of ongoing problems can help an unreceptive audience to see the relevance of a springboard story.
4. Urgency: where time is short, the whole weight of the argument may be placed on one single story.

Using Intellectual Assets as an Integration Vehicle

A Simple Way To Visualize Your Company’s Intellectual Assets
Tasks Related to Strategies and Management of a Company’s Intellectual Assets

Another area requiring integrated strategic planning is that with respect to the corporation’s intellectual assets. The “A Simple Way To Visualize Your Company’s Intellectual Assets” figure shows the strategic ways in which the company’s assets can be best utilized. Within the triangle the assets can first be used to make certain the business can exist by making sure that the company is free to operate in the business spheres it wishes. If the assets are accomplishing this task, the next thing they need to accomplish is to ensure a company gets a return on its investment so that its business has an advantaged position over time. Further up the hierarchy, a company needs make sure it can create sustained value in the future, which from an asset standpoint is done by buying, selling and licensing assets appropriately. Finally if a company is doing an excellent job at managing its assets, it can focus on future market control by leveraging its intellectual assets to influence the future directions of its marketplaces. These elements of been placed in a triangle because the broad base must be in place and solid before the next level above can be addressed.

From a competency standpoint one can see at the bottom that Legal teams are involved in litigation. R&D and Business Development teams are involved in innovation. The strategic focus of the teams is to accumulate intellectual property assets that ensure freedom to action. As one looks higher in the hierarchy, portfolio management teams from Marketing, Sales, Product Management, and Licensing have to manage a portfolio of assets so that it protects the company’s profitability. Those assets that do not afford the company protection need to be pruned to save cost, and those which are providing protection need to be built upon. Still higher in the hierarchy involves integration of Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing and Licensing teams to make sure that assets which are allowed to be licensed or sold to increase business profitability do not damage the company’s current or future return on investment. Finally at the top of the hierarchy Standards Committees, Business Development, Compliance and Marketing need to coordinate their strategies to help the industry move and directions that will help the Corporation.

Specific tasks are shown in the “Tasks Related to Strategies and Management of a Company’s Intellectual Assets” figure. These specific tasks show the variety of roles and responsibilities that are scattered throughout a typical Corporation have to come together in an integrated manner to make best use of the Corporation’s assets. From an intellectual asset management standpoint the level of strategy is shown on the left hand side of the figure is moving from unconscious incompetence up through to unconscious competence.

Sources, References and Selected Bibliographic Information

1. “The SPIN Selling Fieldbook: Practical Tools, Methods, Exercises, and Resources”, by Neil Rackha, McGraw-Hill Education, May>2. ” Beyond Selling: How to Maximize Your Personal Influence” by Edward J. Reese and Dan S. Bagley, Meta Publications, November 1988
3. “Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming”, by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Real People Publishers, 1979.
4. ” The Structure of Magic, Vol. 1: A Book About Language & Therapy “, by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Science and Behavior Books, 1975.
5. ” The Structure of Magic II: A Book About Communication and Change”,by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Science and Behavior Books, 1976.
6. “The Deming Management Method”, by Mary Walton and W. Edwards Deming, TarcherPerigee, 1988.
7. “Out of the Crisis” by W. Edwards Deming, The MIT Press, July 2000.
8. “The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality” by W. Edwards Deming, Joyce Orsini and Diana Deming Cahill, McGraw-Hill Education, Oct 2012.
9. “Prisoners of Hope: How Engineers and Others Get Lift for Innovating”, by Lanny Vincent, WestBow Press, January 2012.
10. “The Springboard”, by Stephen Denning, Routledge, Aug 2012.