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A few personal notes to highlight this year’s annual showcase at the IfM demonstrated an interesting mix of research into technology and innovation management.  The resurgent interest in the future of high value manufacturing made the event the best attended I’ve seen.

IfM Building, Cambridge UK

IfM Building, Cambridge UK

The mission of the institute at Cambridge University is to “research, teach and practically apply new ideas based on an integrated understanding of science, engineering and business.”

Presentations… www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/resources/conference/briefing-day-2013/


  • Industrial Sustainability – IfM is leading a group from Cranfield, Loughborough and Imperial; So, has industrial now “Got Religion” when it comes to operating sustainably?
  • Digital Fabrication – IfM is looking to de-mythologise the hype in potential of 3D/Additive printing.  Where does 3D make sense (or not) and where are the markets?
  • Continuous Manufacturing – leading thinkers understand the potential in moving from batch to continuous processing.  IfM is to look into this.  See the Technology Hype Curve (www.gartner.com)
  • High Value Manufacturing – Having been commissioned to write the TSBs strategy of HVM, IfM is looking to dive deep into focal topics.

Manufacturing + Innovation = Jobs (Re. Charles Vest).

                “it’s all very well having an ah-haa moment; but the real challenge comes from scaling up your technology…” (Andy Grove, Intel)

Not Only, But Also…

Science and Innovation Policy

Governments around the world have become interested in improving their national innovation systems – what makes some NIS more effective than others?

The 8 Big Thematic areas in the UK are, Big Data, Robotics, Agri-science, Space, Synthetic Biology, Energy, Regenerative Medicine, Advanced Materials.

In the USA, it’s about Advanced Materials, Robotics, Nano Carbon, Flexible Electronics, Bio Manufacturing

The Strategic Technology and Innovation Management consortium,  (Dr Rob Phaal)

Presentation –> Technology_Management Slide May 2012, IfM

  • Light weighting Innovation Strategy – Current approaches to strategy development are seen as heavy, resource and time hungry. IfM have developed short-cut templates that combine Feasibility v Opportunity, Roadmaps, Portfolio Display.  This is helpful, but good strategy comes for rigorous use of data and generating insights.
  • Organising the Front-end of Innovation – how to spend the right amount of time in the front end?
  • Scoring Projects for Selection – by using a multi-factor approach (i.e. other than only financial factors, that lead to poor outcomes when used alone –  Cooper et al 1998 – better innovation project portfolios result.)

Visual Strategy (Clive Kerr)

Visual strategy has been shown to be more effective in the development, communication and longevity of innovation plans. This work combines tools, templates and graphical approaches.

Refs: Kerr et al 2011, Phaal et al 2006, 2011

Integration of Technology and Business Strategy (Clemens Chaskel)

It has been known for a long time that business and technology strategies must be in alignment for firms to be successful. The IfM approach links corporate, technology and product strategies – or, combines a number of levels.

Centre for Strategy and Performance (Dr Dominic Oughton)

This ares aims to develop effective strategies, practical tools, techniques and deliver education detailed in a new book is out in 3 months.  Basic approaches are strategic decision-making, visualization, capability, innovation, start-ups and performance.

I’m not yet seeing anyone who can measure innovation effectively; my own dissertation on Open innovation concluded the same.

The Cambridge Service Alliance, (Taija Turunen)

They have identified the success factors that underpins service innovation.  The approach is to build service innovation capability through audit and improvement.

Rob Munro

So, what do you think ?

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