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4th edition

R&D Controlling and Performance Management

27-29 November 2019
Amsterdam, Netherlands 

  • You will be presenting on the case study, "Futures, Crowds and Data: How Future Scenarios Shape Innovation Strategy". Could you give us a brief overview on the main themes that you will be touching upon in your presentation?

Nobody can predict the future, least of all us futurists. However, what we can do is driving, shaping and facilitating dialogues that shed a light on which scenarios appear likely and plausible for our future. Scenario development is a co-creation process that involves the client organization and its external ecosystem, for example its value chain, alike. When we work with scenarios it is important to tap into as much collective wisdom as possible. One thing we do is to ask participants what they expect to happen in the light of major developments which we call megatrends. Their insights and narratives help us shape future scenarios. Here it is important that we develop not only one but multiple scenarios that reflect multiple possible futures. This can only be achieved when we leverage the diversity in the participating crowd. There are many different methods to conduct dialogue-based scenario development which can be based on physical workshops and interviews but also to an increasing degree on digital platforms. Crowd-sourcing and Delphi are among the most widely used. The other aspect that comes into play when developing future scenarios is big data analysis and data-driven trend analysis. Here we use powerful digital search and visualization tools that allow us to get an overview and insights into ongoing technology, industry and investment activities and how they develop over time. Thus, big data analysis and visualization complement human-created scenarios of the future. Once we have fleshed out our scenarios, using dialogue and big data approaches, we can start looking at innovation strategies that are based on the preceding scenario work. Our conceptualizations of possible futures thus inform strategy making – especially in innovation. At the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies we emphasize the engagement of multiple stakeholders in scenario development together with the application of digital methods – we have trademarked our specific approach as the Copenhagen Method TM.

  • In particular, you will be discussing on a 'megatrends-based' approach to future scenario development. Could you explain in a few words what megatrends are and why are they so important to scenario planning? 

Megatrends are major forces of development that have been shaping the world as we know it for at least one decade and which are expected to make their influence felt in the future decades lying ahead of us as well. At the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies we work with a set of 14 megatrends. They include demographic development, economic growth, sustainability and climate change, technology and innovation – just to name a few. Megatrends impact us as individuals, as organizations and as nation states profoundly – you cannot hide from a megatrend. Working with megatrends we also need to be aware that megatrends are complex, they consist of many underlying trends and sometimes even countertrends. We also need to realize that trends do not develop linearly, but they can develop and impact us exponentially - and sometimes we tend to overestimate trends in the short-term and underestimate them in the long-term.

  • What are in your opinion some of the challenges or implications of innovation strategies and how could they be resolved?

Innovation strategies deal fundamentally with managing uncertainty which is a significant challenge. The level of uncertainty increases as we venture further and further away from our core business, this increases our risk of failure but there is no other true alternative to innovation if we strive for sustainable competitive advantage. The good news is that there is not only the chance of failure but also the chance of game-changing successes as we venture into the unknown with our innovation strategy. So, the critical question – for each innovation strategy – becomes: how do we create an asymmetrically distributed outcome space? In other words, how do we increase our chances of breakthrough innovation and minimize our cost of failure? The answer to that question is creativity, collaboration, co-creation and option-thinking. It is about placing many bets at a low cost early on and be smart about which innovation bets to nurture and which ones to shelve. The global start-up movement represents a unique opportunity of collaboration for big multinational organizations. Open start-up involving innovation strategies are the name of the game nowadays, couple with the application of digital technologies such as AI. One of the key questions then becomes: How can I as a MNC scale my collaborations with start-ups without blowing my costs? 

  • What is the view of The Copenhagen Institute for Future studies regarding efficient investment in R&D and what do you think it takes to manage performance well?

 Referring to what I said before, the big strategic question for R&D nowadays becomes: How can R&D collaborations with start-ups be scaled without blowing the R&D’s budget? Also, efficient investment in R&D must be guided by a strategic perspective on where to engage openly with start-ups, alliance partners etc. and where to drive innovation forward under more closed frameworks. Another critical dimension of R&D investment is to drive for reducing time to market. In this regards it is absolutely critical to invest into customer-engaging R&D and into prototyping as early as possible. Smart investments into understanding and engaging the customer early on to develop, build and test prototypes is crucial. Thereby, R&D performance measurement shall also focus increasingly be based on tracking and evaluating early customer engagement and prototyping results. In a fast-moving world R&D cannot spend years with developing innovations that the customer does not want. Therefore the aspect of early customer buy-in is a critical measurement of performance. Finally, another often overlooked dimension of R&D performance (and BTW the same also goes for all other functions) is the aspect of learning. In large and complex organizations, that are subject to constant change in set-up and people composition – how do we ensure that the organization maintains and increases its ability to learn? In the long-term successful R&D organizations are those organizations who are capable of collective learning – a culture of knowledge sharing and continuous people development are absolutely indispensable in this regard. Unfortunately, it is often investments in learning capabilities which are the first victims of cost cutting exercises when R&D has to save money in troubled times. This may improve the numbers but is detrimental in the long run. Therefore, R&D organizations should keep the focus on nurturing a culture of learning and knowledge even in times of crisis and recession.

  • What key drivers motivated you to participate in the marcus evans 4th edition R&D Controlling and Performance Management conference? What do you hope to gain?

This conference is an ideal forum to learn from some of the most talented and inspiring people around. For me it is a fantastic opportunity to increase my insights and my network and to get new perspectives on topics dear to my heart. The value of this conference lies in the excellent presentations and lectures but definitely also in the multitude of informal discussions and experience exchanges.

An interview with:

Frank Hatzack, Senior Advisor at Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies, Denmark

In the current, fast-changing environment, companies must prioritise and avoid wasteful R&D investments. R&D controllers have to learn how to work well with innovation managers for better results, not least of which is how to ensure you get the most benefit out of portfolios and overcome bottlenecks in the process. Having the right capabilities, the right toolbox, and the right processes in place is crucial if R&D performance management is to make a difference.

By attending this marcus evans pan-European and cross-industry conference for controllers and R&D professionals, you will be able to discuss how to get the most out of your investment; you will be able to benchmark how others are doing valuations and project prioritisation and discuss the R&D finance, more technical aspects, as well as the important strategic question of looking beyond typical project metrics to assess the economic value of knowledge generated by R&D. You will be able to explore the impact of external financing or partnering on how you manage your portfolio. The case studies will be practical and the discussions open and interactive for maximum learning and knowledge sharing.

To view the Conference Agenda, click HERE!

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About the conference

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Having worked for 20 years in industrial and agricultural biotech, Dr. Frank Hatzack is now a Senior Advisor at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies. As an independent non profit organisation, the institute acts as a strategic advisory for clients across industries. Dr. Hatzack comes from a position as Head of Innovation Development at Novozymes where he was responsible for front-end innovation and new business creation. He has worked extensively with collaborative digital innovation approaches, technology scouting and open innovation. Frank has a keen interest in predictive analytics and collective intelligence to accelerate innovation. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the Free University of Berlin and is a part time lecturer on innovation and biotechnology at the Copenhagen Business School. 

For all enquiries regarding speaking, sponsoring and attending this conference contact:

Angy Odysseos
Email: angyo@marcusevanscy.com
Telephone: +357 22 849 404
Fax: +357 22 849 394

Enable R&D to create
value with the right
valuation, prioritisation
and focus in your finance
and business strategy