Research and development projects fail more often than they succeed. In fact, given all of the 10 R & D projects, five flops are three, and only two ultimately also commercially successful. A principal problem is that many companies do not know how best to organize their laboratories to conduct R & D work. A classic hierarchical structure, for example, tends to impede the rapid dissemination of knowledge. Matrix organizations, on the other hand, you can carry information blockades, confusion and conflict amo … Read more »

Research and development projects fail more often than they succeed. In fact, given all of the 10 R & D projects, five flops are three, and only two ultimately also commercially successful. A principal problem is that many companies do not know how best to organize their laboratories to conduct R & D work. A classic hierarchical structure, for example, tends to impede the rapid dissemination of knowledge. Matrix organizations, on the other hand, you can carry information blockades, confusion and conflict among employees. To investigate how companies best manage their efforts to innovate, lead author of a detailed study of six R & D projects in the laboratory of a Fortune 500 company. She found that successful R & D projects have four key factors that reinforce each other: strong and sustainable corporate support, the presence of open communication patterns and a low degree of formal reporting (need about this, R & D teams in specifically organized so that informal social networks are reinforced – not thwarted – by the formal organizational structures); inclusion in R & D projects of a person who “technically consultancy network” is the focus of, and the inclusion of someone who key to “organizational consultancy network.” An understanding of the interplay between informal social networks and formal organizational structures can help companies design and maintain learning organizations in which employees share relevant knowledge effectively and readily, leading to more successful R & D efforts.
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Polly Rizova
Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
9 sides.
Release date: 01 April, 2006. Prod #: SMR203-PDF-ENG
Are you networked for successful innovation? HBR case solution

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