Helping R&D People Pitch Their IdeasThe January 2010 issue of Chief Learning Officer has an excellent case study describing how one company improved its approach to identifying ideas generated by its technical staff that have strong commercial potential.
Authors David Midgley (INSEAD) and Carlos de Pommes (now at Cambiio) explain that QinetiQ (think "kinetic"), a defense technology and security company, designed a program to:
- equip their scientists and engineers to present ideas as compelling business propositions, and
- make sure that ideas were brought to the attention of all relevant business units, not just the unit to which a particular research team was attached.
To make a convincing and compelling pitch, teams needed to master four key parts of an investable proposition, known internally as NABC: the need of the customer; the approach the team took to deliver the solution; the benefits for both the customer and QinetiQ; and the likely competition. Experienced instructors taught these skills during the 90 days of the competition and supported the teams throughout.As of the time of writing, 50 ideas have been proposed, of which 11 were ultimately approved for funding.