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GGI RapidNews R&D Product Development eZine: Volume 3, Issue 8 - October 4, 2002
GGI RapidNews is published approximately once a month.

In This Issue

BOOK REVIEW - Weird Ideas That Work, by Robert I. Sutton

NEWS & NOTES - New personnel

NEW BIENNIAL SURVEY - 2002 RD&E Survey in analysis phase

MANAGEMENT PRODUCTIVITY - Collaboration in High-Tech NPD Processes

TELEVISION EVENT - Alexander Haig's World Business Review

NEW WEB CONTENT - New GTKs: Performance Management/Balanced Scorecard and E-Commerce Solutions

FEATURED I-STORE ITEM - 1998 Product Development Metrics Research Summary

UPCOMING CONFERENCES & SEMINARS - Sopheon Webinar. Management Roundtable's 7th Annual Metrics Conference, IQPC's R&D Measurement Conference, and Worldwide Business Research's Innovate 2002 Conference



Weird Ideas That Work - 11 1/2 Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Innovation, by Robert I. Sutton, Free Press, 1st edition, October, 2001; 224 pages

Robert Sutton, consultant and professor at Stanford Engineering School, presents counterintuitive ideas to promote creativity for the future of any organization, while maintaining effectiveness in handling current issues. Sutton explains that the standard rules of management are the opposite of what is needed to be innovative. A nontraditional approach will help a company do at least one these three things:

… Increase the variance or variety in available knowledge,
… Help the company to see old things in new ways, or
… Break from the past.

In order to spark innovation, try some "weird" ideas, such as

1. Hire slow learners of the organizational code. These folks will use their own knowledge and skill or will invent new ways to get things done, leading to innovation.

1.5 (an extension of #1) Hire people who make you uncomfortable, even those you dislike. Diversify by finding competent people with the right skills who have different beliefs, knowledge and skills than "insiders." [The "1.5" is why the book's subtitle is "11 1/2 PracticesŠ .."]

2. Hire people you probably don't need. To bring in new ideas and fresh perspectives, hire people with skills that seem unrelated now but might help in the future.

3. Use job interviews to get ideas, not just to screen candidates. Ask about promising technologies, business practices and models they have learned about in school or in other companies.

4. Encourage people to ignore and defy superiors and peers. Allow space and time for people to develop ideas and projects in their own creative ways. Some companies even use reverse mentoring, where newcomers teach old-timers how to think and act.

5. Find some happy people and get them to fight. Encourage intellectual conflict (over ideas) and minimize interpersonal conflict through humor.

6. Reward success and failure, but punish inaction. Creativity and innovation are largely a function of sheer quantity, so you must try many things, some of which will fail. Learn from mistakes and reward people for taking risks to try something new.

7. Decide to do something that will probably fail, then convince yourself and everyone else that success is certain. Use the power of positive expectations and the "self-fulfilling prophesy" phenomenon to encourage high performance.

8. Think of some ridiculous or impractical things to do, then plan to do them. Use stupid or bad or even absurd ideas to help reveal good ones.

9. Avoid, distract, and bore customers, critics, and anyone else who just wants to talk exclusively about money. Limit interactions with outsiders who might kill innovation by trying to drive short-term results.

10. Don't try to learn anything from people who say they have solved the problems you face. Have people with little experience and new perspectives work on key problems.

11. Forget the past, especially your company's successes. Free yourself from the "success traps" of the past, and start doing things differently.

Sutton concludes with 10 principles to help apply the weird ideas above. These provide a great guide for what managers and leaders can do to create an environment where more ideas are generated and tested. These new ideas can lead to the next best thing in your organization.


New Member Of GGI's Team: John R. (Dick) Power has just joined GGI's staff as Director of Executive Education. Dick has been practicing in the advanced and new product development and production areas for over thirty years. He is highly experienced in project management of large and complex high technology products from initial phases through production, distribution and sustaining support. Dick served as a US Army Signal Corps officer for thirty years, retiring as a Colonel in 1992. For most of that career he was a leader in acquisition of electronic systems for the Army. More recently, Dick worked at GTE (before its merger with Bell Atlantic to form Verizon) as Director of Total Quality and later as Corporate program manager for information security. Dick holds a BS degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University and an MBA from Babson College. He is a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College Systems Acquisition course and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He also holds a Diploma in Financial Management from Boston University. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).


2002 RD&E Survey - Resource & Capacity Management: GGI's 2002 Product Development Metrics Survey is now in the analysis phase. Thanks to all of you who completed the survey. All participants will receive an acknowledgement letter in the mail soon. Any survey respondents who do not receive an acknowledgement letter from us by October 15 should contact Anne Schwartz at or 781-444-5400. We will also be following up with selected folks who decided not to participate this year to find out how GGI can better serve their needs in the future.


"An Examination of Collaboration in High-Technology New Product Development Processes," by Avan R. Jassawalla and Hemant C. Sashittal, J Prod Innov Manag 1998;15:237-254.

Now more than a decade into new product development processes using cross-functional teams and eliminating organizational boundaries, Avan Jassawalla and Hemant Sashittal look at what is next for organizations to improve NPD. The authors suggest that companies need to move from integration toward collaboration. A study of 10 high-tech firms led them to identify factors to increase collaboration as well as characteristics of organizations and participants that affect the level of collaboration.

A detailed discussion of the definition of integration versus collaboration reveals new thinking about these practices. The authors define NPD cross-functional collaboration as "a type of cross-functional linkage, which in addition to high levels of integration, is characterized by participants who achieve high levels of at-stakeness, transparency, mindfulness, and synergies from their interactions." This translates into the following key features: a) "at-stakeness, i.e., a condition where participants have equitable interest in implementing jointly developed agendas, and feel equal stake in NPD related outcomes; b) transparency, i.e., a condition of high awareness achieved as a result of intense communication and exchange of hard-data that makes the motivations, agendas, and constraints of all participants explicit; c) mindfulness, i.e., a condition where new product decisions and participants' actions reflect an integrated understanding of the breadth, and the often divergent motivations, agendas, and constraints that exist, at all times; and d) synergy, i.e., the accomplishment as a result of cross-functional linkages of NPD outcomes that reflect capabilities significantly beyond those participants individually bring to the process." Further, the authors assert that participants in collaborative processes "understand, accept, and internalize the differences that exist and agree to focus on common objectives. [They] explore new opportunities, enhance creativity, and open doors for new, innovative ways of thinking, organizing, and taking action."

Based on a study of 10 high-technology firms, the authors found a number of factors that increased collaboration in NPD processes, summarized below: I. Organizational Factors ("Macro-environmental forces") A. Organizational priority of NPD at the senior management level B. Decentralization of new product decisions, i.e., empowered participants C. Nature of leadership, i.e., the right leader selected (not appointed) by senior management II. Participant-Related Factors ("Micro-environmental forces") A. Propensity to change B. Propensity to cooperate C. Level of trust D. Managerial initiatives, i.e., actions taken by managers to enable their teams and to improve interactions with and among other participants in NPD III. Structural Mechanisms A. R&D sponsored interface management B. R&D - Marketing partnership team C. Concurrent engineering team D. Cross-functional team (young) E. Cross-functional team (experienced)

These concepts and practices should be applied in companies already using cross-functional teams. The authors have found that high levels of collaboration can be achieved in companies "after they have attained high levels of interfunctional integration, overcome structural-functional impediments to cooperation and resolved many of the problems associated with linear-sequential NPD related work-flows." In speaking of the implications of their findings, they show how collaboration goes beyond integration through the vehicle of cross-functional teams. Organizations can extend from mere integration to collaboration by supporting NPD at the top and throughout the firm with the above-mentioned organizational and participant factors as well as structural mechanisms.


Alexander Haig's World Business Review: Based on the success of GGI's August 4th appearance on Alexander Haig's World Business Review, Brad Goldense was invited back for a longer taping session in person with General Haig at his studio in Florida. This new 22.5 minute segment with General Haig began airing Sunday, September 29 and continues for the next few weeks on PBS Business and Technology Network (a subscription service available to companies) and Tech TV (a cable channel). This piece will be edited to a 7.5 minute segment, which will air later (date TBD) on CNBC as paid programming. The city-by-city listing of airtimes for the 22.5 minute segment can be found in the ..pdf document at this link for American cities:

and here for International cities:

This current program and the previous August 4th appearance will be available soon on streaming video through the World Business Review website,, and soon thereafter on GGI's website.

For more information on any of Brad's appearances on television, go to


GTK-Gateways To Knowledge: Your resource for industry and product development related information and contacts offers thousands of links to providers of technologies and services for line management functions. The main entrance to GTK can be found at:

One of our top 3 MEGA Gateways is the Technology Providers MEGA Gateway, which is a directory of hundreds of links organized by technical topic (hardware and software). The Technology Providers MEGA Gateway can be found at:

Performance Management/Balanced Scorecard: Find it in the Technology Providers MEGA Gateway. This NEW Gateway offers links to companies that provide Performance Management and Balanced Scorecard software. The URL is located at:

E-Commerce Solutions: Find it in the Technology Providers MEGA Gateway. This NEW Gateway offers links to companies that provide e-commerce solutions software. The URL is located at:


Featured Item: GGI's I-Store features one deeply discounted offering which usually runs for more than one month. The new Featured Item is the "1998 Product Development Metrics Research Summary."

This 88-page report presents the detailed results of GGI's 1998 Product Development Metrics Survey, which focused on metrics systems in use in industry as well as rewards and recognition for product development performance. The report is organized in 5 sections, each of which contains factual observations, management analysis and a full set of graphics. This report, which analyzes the survey population of 190 respondents as a whole, will provide you with detailed information on … Types, frequency of, and specific metrics in use, … The state of corporate metrics, … The state of project metrics, including standardization, … Linkages from team performance in new product development activities to rewards and recognition, and … How companies are implementing metrics systems.

The price for the report has been dropped from $1760.00 to $1056.00, a deep discount of 40%. For more information or to purchase this valuable report, go to


Sopheon Webinar: On Tuesday, October 22, 2002 Brad Goldense will present an on-line seminar, "Proactive and Predictive R&D Metrics." This session will focus on R&D management processes in the NPD body of knowledge that are most highly correlated with success and failure of R&D investments. It will enable leading product developers to raise the measurement bar within their company's development organization in order to achieve "best practices" in product development. This seminar is a free, one-hour session beginning at 9:30 AM CDT/10:30 AM EDT.

For more information or to register, go to:

Management Roundtable - 7th Annual Metrics Conference: The Management Roundtable will offer its 7th Annual Metrics Conference in Chicago on October 28-30, 2002. The focus of this year's conference is Metrics for Portfolio & Resource Management. The conference features keynote speaker Arthur M. Schneiderman, Former Vice President of Quality and Productivity Improvement at Analog Devices as well as expert clinics, pre-conference workshops and many case studies from a variety of companies.

In these times of scarce resources and escalating financial pressure, knowing which projects to invest in and which ones to cut is vital. This conference can help you to determine where the real economic value is in your product portfolio, to implement practical metrics for effective resource allocation and to collect and benefit from real-time metrics.

Brad Goldense will be making two presentations at this conference. He will introduce a newly developed one-day seminar entitled "Developing Metrics Portfolios: Defining & Selecting Key Measures for Product Development Performance." He will also make the first public presentation of the results of GGI's 2002 Product Development Metrics Survey.

For more information go to: or visit GGI's Calendar at:

IQPC "R&D Measurement:" IQPC presents their R&D Measurement Conference in Chicago on November 18-20, 2002. The theme of this year's conference is Lessons learnt from best practice companies using performance measurements to effectively manage for Quality in R&D. You'll learn from leading-edge companies who have faced the challenges of making R&D more productive. As a result, they have designed & developed thoughtful and thorough performance measurement systems to handle a range of vital issues, including cycle times, increasing customer satisfaction levels, process improvements, and product innovations. The conference features keynote speaker Al Endres, author of Improving R&D Performance - The Juran Way, in addition to case studies, strategic workshops and an interactive panel discussion.

Brad Goldense will make two presentations at this conference. The first workshop, on November 18, is "How Metrics Can Accelerate Product Development," which focuses on getting started on measuring the product development process in order to accelerate your company's performance. The second workshop is "Implementing Proactive and Predictive R&D Metrics," on November 20. This workshop will focus on metrics that are used at the planning and definition stages of R&D, the crucial beginning stages of the product development process, prior to the existence of a physical prototype.

For more information, go to:

Worldwide Business Research "Innovate 2002:" Worldwide Business Research will hold its conference, "Innovate 2002" on December 4-5, 2002 in San Antonio, Texas. Innovate 2002 focuses on the theme of Optimizing collaborative product design, engineering and manufacturing to increase speed to market, improve time to volume and cut costs. The conference features keynote speaker Mike Morton, Director Global Product Development, General Motors, as well as case studies and workshops.

As part of the Special Post-Conference Performance Metrics & Benchmarking Summit on Friday, December 6, Brad Goldense will lead a workshop on "Metrics For Managing RD&E Resources & Capacity: A Survey Of North American Manufacturers and High-Tech Companies." He will present the results of results of GGI's 2002 Product Development Metrics Survey.

For more information, go to:


GGI RapidNews is an e-mail publication from Goldense Group, Inc (GGI). Its subject matter includes survey findings, company news, book reviews, key industry conferences and R&D information of interest to clients and associates. Please send communications to rn(at) Thank you.