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1

For a large manufacturing firm, describe how technology roadmapping and technology intelligence techniques could be used to help the firm respond to the emergence of a new production technology.

Technology roadmapping:

Three stages on the horizontal axis:

  • Where the company is
  • Where the company wants to be
  • And how it is going to get there

Along the vertical axis:

  • Why? (commercial perspective) 
    • Market and Business
    • The drivers, the strategy, and the needs
  • What? (design and production perspective)
    • Product, Service and System
    • The form, the function and performance
  • How? (technology and research perspective)
    • Technology, Science and Resources
    • The solutions, capabilities and resources

 

Technology Intelligence

Is the capture and delivery about information to help the organisation develop an awareness of threats and opportunities.

Usually done by setting up an intelligence team to capture information, develop insight and deliver that to decision makers.

 

Decision makers have to make:

  • strategic, tactical and operational decisions.

To do this they need to know:

  • PESTLE
  • Who, what, where, when, why, how?

Must ultimately develop:

  • Assessment of opportunities, threats, art and trends

By building an understanding of:

  • Market, competitive and technological intelligence

Technology Intelligence is found from sources that are:

  • white/black, secondary/primary, internal/external/ explicit/tacit

 

TI system needs people, processes and infrastructures.

TI systems work through 4 modes: 

  • Mine (aware and known)
  • Trawl (unaware and known)
  • Target (aware and unknown)
  • Scan (unaware and unknown)

 

Must understand the link between the two (roadmap vs TI):

  • what info do we need to collect:
    • where are we now vs what do we know
  • where do we want to be vs what do we not know
  • what info do we need to deliver
    • how do we get there vs what do we need to know

 

  • market vs market intelligence
  • product vs competitive intelligence
  • technology vs technology intelligence

 

Understand the company. Big therefore potentially:

  • path dependency
  • need to generate returns from existing resources
  • more resources
  • etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Illustrating your answers with examples, sketch and describe what is meant by a technology ‘S-curve’;

 

The S curve is a curve with technology performance over time with four phases:

  1. Emerging: early research, emerging in other industries, competitive impact unclear but positive
  2. Pacing: potential gamechanger, not yet in product, competitive impact likely to be high
  3. Key: in use in product, basis of competitive differentiation, high competitive impact
  4. Base: essential to business, widespread, little competitive impact

 

The S curve usually includes and depicts a technology generation shift depicted by a second s curve, sometimes illustrated as a discontinuity.

 

Examples of S curves:

  • photographic technologies, film vs pixel. Performance factor is image quality.

3

Illustrating your answers with examples, sketch and describe what is meant by a consumer adoption curve.

A curve with either the rate of adoption out of 100% or the market share over time with five adopter types:

  1. innovators/techies
  2. early adopters/visionaries
  3. early majority/pragmatists
  4. late majority/conservatives
  5. laggards/sceptics

 

Evolution of adoption curve and markets is unpredictable as supply and demand do not move in synch.

  • Supply:
    • improvement of competing technology is unpredictable
    • new business models reach users in unexpected ways
    • technology standard wars can be engaged in unpreditable ways
    • supply needs investment which may not come in times of uncertainty
  • Demand:
    • Feedback loops between users influencing each other`s choices are unpredictable

    • Demand for interactive products are especially unpredictable because of network effects

    • Users may face switching and learning costs

    • Demographics lead to surprises

4

Illustrating your answers with examples, sketch and describe what is meant by a product life cycle curve.

A curve with sales or revenues over time and four phases usually :

  • introduction 
  • growth
  • maturity 
  • decline

If profit over time is depicted an additional phase is usually included upfront, which is the development phase where profits are negative.

 

Also important to mention evolution of industries:

  • Era of ferment/Disruption
  • Dominant design/Standards
  • Incremental innovaiton
  • Maturity

 

5

Explain what is meant by brand?

  • A brand is an intangible asset linked to the outside world's perception of a company and its products and services.
  • The brand is often a subjective view of a product and/or service.
  • Brands exist of different levels, such as product or product line e.g. Daimler E Class
  • Brands need to be build, nurtured and managed as customers perceptions change over time.

 

Old view of brands:

  • name/symbol that identifies a product and differentiates it from competitors
  • brand is sum of parts surrounding the product: 4Ps, basic, tangible, augmented and potential brand
  • Old view failed: blind tests, brand model was not delivering results, M&A showed value of brand

 

6

Explain what is meant by trademark?

A trademark is an intellectual property right to protect brands that needs to be registered in multiple countries.

It can often last forever but needs to be kept enforced and prevented from becoming generic, which happens with iconic products. 

Different trademarks exist such as names, icons, symbols and combinations.

7

Explain what is meant by a product?

The embodiment of components assembled by a company, which do not need to be physical (e.g. software is often perceived as a product), often transacted to customers.

8

2017

1ai)

Describe how you could identify some of the major changes within your organisation that would have to be implemented to enable a novel technology such as Additive Manufacturing to be deployed in your firm.

A basic answer should cover (50%-60%, 10-12 marks):

  • Students should be able to describe a number of simple activities, such as talking to manufacturing personnel, thinking about equipment that needs to replaced, skills needs, etc.

A better answer should cover (60%-70%, 12-14 marks):

  • The above plus one or more of the following tools: Technology roadmapping

 ISAEP

  Foresight tools

  Change management

A ‘best’ answer should cover (70%-100%, 14-20 marks):

  • Comparing the introduction to the introduction of other, similar technologies or firms. Students have an example from the lectures of the labour changes involved in the introduction of computer- numerically-controlled equipment and robotics in manufacturing plants, which they could draw on.
  • They might also choose to use scenario planning as a method for identifying the key uncertainties related to the technology through the use of scenarios exploring how the technology might evolve.

9

2017

1aii)

Discuss how you could identify the technical and non-technical challenges related to the development of Additive Manufacturing technologies and suggest how these challenges might be overcome.

A basic answer should cover (50%-60%, 20-24 marks):

  • The maturity of the technology either in Technology Readiness Levels (a), in terms of demonstrators and the focus of development attention (b), foresight (c), or technology intelligence (d – from MET IIB-7 - Technology Intelligence lecture by Letizia Mortara). Students should not be confused that while they are asked about a new manufacturing technology, the technology readiness levels apply and not confound them with manufacturing readiness levels.
  • In this instance, students would cover challenges related to functioning in various environments (in line with the Technology Readiness Levels) or with the necessity for demonstrators needing to demonstrate different aspects of feasibility.

A better answer should cover (60%-75%, 25-30 marks):

  • Adding to the above with an exploration of one of the others (a, b, c, or d) or an exploration of the categories of technology using (e), missing parts of the value chain (f), or missing actors (g).

 

  • A better answer will also identify, depending on which of the frameworks are deployed, potential challenges in terms of missing enabling technologies, a lack of basic scientific knowledge, high risk, or a lack of commercialisation activities; gaps in the value chain; or gaps in innovation system actors.

The best answer should cover (75%-100%, 30-40 marks):

  • Combinations of two or more that reflect both technical and non-technical aspects. They should also identify the limitations of these frameworks and give some indication of where to target attention.
  • The best answers will begin to draw on the lectures content about the changing nature of firms and government activities and how they might be used to address the gaps.

10

2017

1b)

Why and how are governments reacting to production technologies such as Additive Manufacturing?

A basic answer should cover (50%-69%, 20-27 marks):

  • That governments are concerned with the resilience of the economy, productivity, or the creation of jobs (at least two of these). They should also describe the motivations behind some of general government activities such as apprenticeships, R&D funding, innovation tax credits, etc.

A better answer should cover (70%-85%, 20-27 marks):

  • All three government concerns: national income, resilience of the economy, productivity, and the creation of jobs. They should also provide some example programmes in a country and a good understanding of what these are doing and trying to achieve.
  • How governments might be examining their innovation systems to understand how they might ensure the varieties of technology are in place to (e), industrial sectors and the location of wealth creation (f), the configuration of actors within their country (g), the contexts and links to general actors types (h), location of value in the value chain (i) or the valley of death (j)
  • They should also be able to point to some national policies and programmes, like the UK Industrial Strategy and the Catapult programme. They may mention specific initiatives and policies such as those mentioned in, for example, (k), (l) or (m).

A ‘best’ answer should cover (86%-100%, 20-27 marks):

  • All of the above, plus programmes in more than one country. They should also demonstrate a good understanding of them. In each of these cases should discuss the limitations and biases of the frameworks applied.

11

2017

3 (a)

Explain what is meant by open innovation and its associated practices.

a)  Good students will provide:

  • An explanation of open innovation mentioning that organizations and particularly their innovation process has open boundaries allowing collaboration with external partners – not only firms, such as start-ups, but also universities, technical consultants, joint ventures, etc.
  • Contrast the open innovation model with the closed innovation model explaining that firms in the past have often innovated internally, but this is becoming increasingly difficult due to technological complexity and other trends, such as globalization and the internet.
  • May provide an illustration, such as the innovation funnel model for both the closed and open innovation approaches.
  • Mention that open innovation distinguishes two types of activities: inbound (internalizing external ideas and technologies), such as in-licensing and outbound (externalization) activities, such as technology out-licensing, selling, donations. 

Excellent answers will:

  • Provide a definition or attempt to specifically define open innovation.
  • Introduce and describe the three OI approaches, possibly provide illustrations and
  • examples for each approach (see below).
  • Provide specific examples of open innovation strategies, e.g. in- and out-licensing
  • May critically reflect on the concept mentioning some problems associated with open innovation, such as the different company cultures between large and small firms and how these can be overcome.
  • Discuss companies, such as Qualcomm that employ licensing business models and non practicing entities - NPE (e.g. patent trolls)
  • May discuss that also in the past firms have innovated openly before the concept was
  • named as such.

12

2017

3b)

Discuss how simulations, such as the City Car game, may be useful in understanding the challenges to innovation projects, and in particular the role of collaboration.

  • A challenge for this question was for students to abstract from the city car game they have attended or other similar experiences during the MET course and present their arguments in a sensible structure to avoid the answer being merely descriptive of the different game elements, nor speculative about possible advantages of simulations. Good answers thus presented a framework upfront to structure their answer. Good answers also use examples of real world cases to illustrate how simulations can help.
  • Good student answers discuss the difference between experiencing a certain situation (e.g. innovation project) in comparison to a lecture and the benefits from a simulation of a real life situation (e.g. possibility to experience a difficult situation in a no-risk environment). It was hardly sufficient to obtain a good mark if the different elements of the city car game are only described and linked to the elements of innovation processes.
  • When answering this question, excellent students would have concluded that the game rather resembles a closed than an open innovation model. While students collaborate internally, within their teams during the game facing different communication and coordination challenges the game hardly emphasizes collaboration between teams, i.e. external collaboration (open innovation).
  • Excellent students will further provide a more detailed account and line of argument, for instance, explaining how a simulation model may look like that also resembles external collaborative activities. Excellent answers will also conclude their argument by summarizing their main points.

13

2017

3c)

Discuss why some manufacturing businesses choose to innovate more openly than others, using specific examples.

  • This question requires students to show they have understood that open innovation is not a dichotomous concept (open vs. closed), but rather needs to be interpreted as a continuum ranging from closed to open (degree of openness).
  • Good answers will find that different firms operate in different environments and different industry life cycle stages wherefore they may choose to open or close their innovation processes. It is not sufficient to state factors, such as size or industry and claim these are important ones, without however providing evidence or referring to a framework. Instead, good answers at least refer to different types of firms, such as the two-by-two matrix for firm types presented in the lecture with the two dimensions technology intensive vs. contingent and small vs. large (see below).
  • Instead of just providing a list of factors that potentially impact the choice of openness, excellent answers may bettwer structure their answers, e.g. refer to the five management challenges in open innovation as introduced in the lecture and choose these as a framework to discuss why firms employ open innovation to a different degree (see below).

Another approach for an excellent answer would be to start with providing examples from both ends of the spectrum, e.g. very open (e.g. TESLA) and very closed (e.g. defence companies) example. Such answers then discuss and compare other cases that sit somewhere between the two extremes and highlight specific aspects of openness. Excellent answer may also provide examples of companies that use both open and closed strategies at the same time, i.e. close against certain actors, but free licensing to others.

14

2017

4a)

For each company (Riversimple and Vitsoe), describe what a sustainable business model would look like

  • Basic answers will describe a sustainable business model as one that
    • creates, delivers and captures economic value
    • while maintaining or regenerating economic, natural and social resources beyond its organisational boundaries.
  • Principles that place sustainability at the core of the business, and define a sustainable business model include:
    • Re-thinking the purpose of the business.
    • Adopting a broader meaning of value to integrate economic, environmental and social value.
    • Considering a broader set of stakeholders beyond shareholders, customers and suppliers.
    • Including Natural Environment and Society as stakeholders of the firm.
    • Aligning interests and encouraging responsible actions from all stakeholders.
    • Adopting a long-term and systems view of the business.

Good answers will interpret and relate these principles to Riversimple and Vitsoe respectively, and propose company-specific principles. In both cases, the sustainable business models would deviate from the traditional car-manufacturing and furniture-making models.

In the case of Riversimple,

  • this might include rethinking the purpose of the business to pursue the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport;
  • open source design of the vehicle;
  • retaining ownership of the cars and selling mobility as a service where the service includes the car and all associated running costs, including fuel.

In the case of Vitsoe,

  • this might include rethinking the purpose of the business to allow more people to live with less, that lasts longer;
  • encouraging more customers to buy less;
  • encouraging reuse of furniture and modular upgrade over time;
  • considering repair, reuse, exchange, leasing and re-manufacture of furniture.

15

2017

4b)  

For each sustainable business model (Riversimple and Vitsoe), describe what forms of sustainable value are created, delivered and captured.

Basic answers will describe sustainable value as the integration of economic, environmental and social value into the business model, and identify generic forms of sustainable value such as:

  • Sustainable economic value - profit, growth, return on investment, financial resilience, long- term viability and stability.
  • Sustainable environmental value - use of renewable resources, low emissions and low waste levels within the ability of the environment to metabolise safely, pollution prevention (air, water, land), protection of bio-diversity, positive benefits to the environment.
  • Sustainable social value - secure and meaningful livelihoods, fair labour standards and practices, well-being, health, community development, poverty alleviation, social justice, equality, diversity.

Good answers will interpret and relate these forms of value to Riversimple and Vitsoe respectively, and identify company-specific forms of sustainable value.

In the case of Riversimple,

  • this might include seeking long-term financial resilience;
  • building a lightweight zero emissions vehicle;
  • open source design;
  • creating local jobs.

In the case of Vitsoei,

  • this might include prioritising long-term viability and stability over short-term growth;
  • a new eco-building to reduce energy use and emissions;
  • reusing all packaging;
  • trust between company and customers;
  • secure livelihoods of employees.

Good answers will also apply the concepts of value captured and value uncaptured (missed/destroyed/surplus/absence) to categorise different forms of sustainable value for the various stakeholders of company A and company B.

16

2017

4c)

Explain the novel features of each business model in comparison to the traditional business models of a car manufacturer and a furniture manufacturer.

Good answers will highlight innovations in the proposed sustainable business in comparison to the traditional business models of a car manufacturer and a furniture manufacturer. The answer to this question would build upon and reflect on the analysis performed in the previous two answers, as well as draw upon wider material from the module.

In the case of Riversimple, novel characteristics that highlight the differences to the traditional mainstream car manufacturing business model might include elements such as

  • selling service rather than selling the car;
  • a custodian company governance model;
  • and raising financial capital through crowdfunding.

In the case of Vitsoe, novel characteristics that highlight the differences to the traditional mainstream furniture manufacturing business model might include elements such as

  • avoiding built-in obsolescence in the products;
  • building long lasting relationships with customers by under-selling to them;
  • employee ownership of the company;
  • selling quietly with no marketing campaigns;
  • and raising investment from long-term customers.

17

2017

5a)

In the context of a manufacturing business:

Explain what is meant by manufacturing strategy and the associated decision

A pattern of decisions, both structural and infrastructural, which determine the capability of a business and specify how it will operate to meet the manufacturing objectives which have been derived from the business objectives.

The decision areas are in the structural and infrastructural categories, and as given by Hayes and Wheelwright are:

Structural

  • Facilities - size, location, specialisation
  • Capacity - amount, timing, type
  • Span of Process - vertical integration, make or buy
  • Process - the transformation processes and the way in which they are organised

Infrastructural

  • Control Policies - production/inventory control, decision making
  • Human Resources - recruiting, training, motivating
  • Quality - defect prevention, monitoring, intervention
  • Suppliers - sourcing policies, supplier relationships
  • New Product Introduction - how to manage all the above when introducing new products
  • Performance Measurement -how to measure the above

Weak answers gave an approximate version of the definition (covered in lectures), and an incomplete list and explanation of the decision areas. Better/good answers were fuller and more accurate, and excellent answers expanded on the concept of ‘fit’ and other implications of strategy formulation.

18

2017

5b)
Discuss how performance measures could help to implement a manufacturing strategy, explaining the choice of three possible measures in each of the following sectors:

(i)  Passenger airliners;

(ii)  Fresh (short date life) food; and

(iii)  Steel making.

  • A good discussion covered the role of performance measurement in manufacturing strategy (see above), in driving behaviour (you get what you measure), and the means to link measures to strategy.
  • A key aspect in a manufacturing business is the fit between the choices made in the decision areas, and the competitive criteria (cost quality, delivery, flexibility and product features).
  • Thus the matching of market requirements and manufacturing performance is very important, and should drive the choice of appropriate measures.
  • Better answers also explored the means to set up effective measures (and measurement systems), such as use of success mapping and the measures design template.

Giving good examples of three possible measures for the proposed sectors, requires consideration of the competitive priorities in each sector, and some rational speculation as to the firm’s objectives.

Good answers were thoughtful (ie giving evidence of the rationale) rather than prescriptive about this choice, and could make reference to the need for balance in measures, as exemplified by techniques such as the balanced scorecard.

Possible answers could include the following suggestions:

  • Passenger airliners: Delivery to schedule, cost and quality (safe operation) are all key requirements, and measures should focus on these aspects of the manufacturing operation. Good students could reason further as to what this could mean for factory operations.
  • Fresh (short date life) food: Flexible (responsive to demand) capacity, quality (hygiene, food safety) and cost (efficient operations) are all requirements in a competitive sector with low barriers to entry. The sector is generally characterised by labour intensive processes, and measures which relate to operator performance and motivation could be expected.
  • Steel making: In this sector international competition is very severe, and cost and efficiency (yield, energy usage) are paramount factors. Labour costs are a small part of the overall cost, so measures will be geared to asset utilisation and yield. At the same time, operator safety is critical (inherently dangerous operations) and accident monitoring and reporting will be prominent.

A common mis-alignment of answers, compared to the question, was to address performance measurement in the context of operations strategy, rather than manufacturing strategy (similar, but not the same).

19

2017

5c)

Discuss how performance measurement systems may develop in an era of greater

Discuss how performance measures could help to implement a manufacturing data availability.

Increasing data availability opens up new opportunities and challenges for firms. A basic answer defined big data in terms of the 3 (or possibly 4) V’s:

  • -  Increasing volume of data – with greater digitalisation and increasing use of connected devices the volume of data available is growing. A common quote is that 80% of the data that exists today was created in the last two years.
  • -  Increasing variety of data – the sources of data available to organisations are increasing significantly. In addition to operational and transactional data, firms are able to access data from social media (Twitter and Facebook) to develop insights into customer services.
  • -  Increasing velocity of data – the speed at which data is made available increases as the number of connected devices grows.
  • -  Some commentators mention a fourth V – veracity – questioning the underlying quality or validity of the data generated.

In addition to commenting on the 4V’s, some students explained how increasing availability of data makes it easier to measure a wider range of things – both operational measures as well as new ways of generating customer insight.

More complete answers explored the challenges of big data. In particular they commented on the phenomenon of “drowning in data” – with firms struggling to make sense of the data they have access to. Some also commented on ethical and social issues associated with increasingly connected datasets – in particular when data sets are connected and therefore reveal deep personal and individual insights.

The best answers explored the multiple roles of measurement, recognising the distinction between measurement as a control system and measurement as a learning system. Students could comment on Chris Argyris’ concept of single versus double loop learning. Single loop learning is a classic control loop – targets are set, progress is monitored and corrective action is taken if the target is likely to be missed. In double loop learning the “system” will challenge the target itself, asking whether it is valid. Big data offers opportunities to use measurement as a learning system and therefore to explore relationships between different dimensions of performance, thus challenging managers assumptions.

20

 2017

6a)

Explain the concept Strategy

Strategy is the determination of long term goals and allocation of resources and course of action needed to complete these.

 

Good students may provide a definition and then explain the strategy concept referring to the five Ps for strategy by Mintzberg (Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position, Perspective).

Answers from good students will show the students have understood that strategies have a typical time horizon of 3-5 years, in contrast to operational tactics (e.g. production planning) with a shorter time horizon and normative long term plans (e.g. corporate policies) with an even longer time horizon.

Good answers will also discuss two strategy types or rather extremes (deliberate strategy vs emergent strategy) with the real strategy somewhere between these; maybe even providing an illustration.

Excellent students will further distinguish different levels of strategy, such as corporate, business unit and function strategies, where technology and marketing strategies should be considered as functional strategies.

21

2017

6a)

Explain the concept of technology strategy

Technology strategy

Good students will explain that a technology strategy focuses on the planning of future technology generations to enable product and service innovations, possibly linking to the ISAEP framework, shortly explaining each of the ISAEP elements. Good answer will also discuss some factors influencing the choice of a technology strategy, e.g. technology intensive vs contingent company, with examples. Good answers may mention and discuss different technology types and their role in the technology strategy, e.g. disruptive vs sustaining innovation or base, key, pacing, emerging.

Excellent answers discuss firms’ considerations for make or buy decisions, i.e. the extent to which a technology strategy is open vs. closed. Excellent answers also mentioned different tools for developing a technology strategy, such as roadmapping.

22

2017

6a)

Explain the concept of marketing strategy

Good answers will discuss that a marketing strategy focused on how the marketing departments can support the product / service and technology roadmaps with long term marketing activities. A framework to be discussed would be the 7P (product, price, place, promotion, people, process, physical evidence). Excellent answers may provide more depth in discussion, e.g. discussing the importance of brand management within the context or a marketing strategy.

23

2017

6b)

Explain the concept of strategic alignment in the context of manufacturing businesses and discuss why this might be difficult to achieve in practice.

Good answers are well structured and preferably begin with an explanation of the strategic fit concept. An explanation may refer to the different types of strategies within a firm, such as corporate, business (unit) and function levels, and the degree to which they are aligned in order to achieve common goals often dictated by the highest strategies (e.g. corporate strategy).

  • All strategies should complement each other.
  • Please note, even in manufacturing companies it is not the manufacturing strategy that drives what a manufacturing company does.
  • The concept of strategic alignment is rather generic and encompassing, therefore it is considered insufficient to only narrow the answer to a few selected strategies, such as those discussed in part a) of this question.

Students may then explain that roadmaps can be integrated and linked together in a hierarchical way that enables coordination across different organizational levels and thus alignment of strategies at different levels (vertically) and/or functions (horizontally).

Good answers may provide specific examples illustrating how selected strategies, e.g. marketing and innovation strategies can be aligned.

  • Marketing to innovators (product features), early adopters (benefits), early majority (reputation), late majority (cost justification)

The questions was focused on internal strategy alignment, but one may also discuss the concept of strategic alignment for aligning multiple partners’ strategies, e.g. in joint ventures, innovation cooperation projects.

 

Good answers will then continue with a discussion of a few problems of strategic alignment. These may include, but are not restricted to

  • different targets of different units,
  • communication,
  • flexibility,
  • organizational structure,
  • culture and people,
  • ambition and scope and performance measures.

The discussion of problems should be substantiated by examples, such as Riversimple, the VW Beatle.

Excellent answers will clearly demonstrate that the students have understood the distinction between alignment on the strategic level vs the organizational implementation of alignment, e.g. processes and routines.

Excellent answers may discuss the dynamics of strategy, e.g. industry evolution and the consequences for different strategies.

Excellent answers may also refer to theoretical concepts explicitly, possibly even referencing these, e.g. resource based view, and use contradicting theoretical views to discuss the related challenges. When discussing specific challenges in detail, excellent answer may not only provide examples, but may discuss possible solutions, i.e. tools for aligning strategies.

Please note, the question did not ask to explain how a strategy can be developed!

24

2017

6c)

Summarize the principles of strategic roadmapping as a management tool and discuss how a manufacturing business may implement roadmapping to help align its technology and marketing strategies.

Please note: The answer was about strategic roadmapping and not about technology roadmapping (TRM), which is the broader view as emphasized during the lecture. Also note, roadmapping is not a particular framework for the innovation process only.

Good answers will first explain the generic nature of roadmapping as strategy planning tool which can be used across different organizational levels. Good answers may then explain the generic roadmapping framework providing an illustration, explaining the purposes (e.g. strategic alignment, communication) and the process for developing roadmaps asking the three key questions:

  • Where do we want to go? Where are we? How do we get there?

Answers may also discuss how roadmapping integrates technology push and pull perspectives. It is insufficient to discuss that roadmapping is a workshop activity where all stakeholders get together and use post-it notes, wall charts and a lot of paper.

Good answers may further find that it is not important that all senior managers of the company are involved in developing technology and marketing roadmaps, but rather the relevant decision makers responsible for both functions.

They may also discuss that roadmapping can integrate different other types of analyses, such as SWOT, STEEPL, scenario analysis or technology intelligence. Good answers may also suggest that the roadmapping process might be an important activity to foster communication between different functions.

Excellent students will find that the question asks about the alignment of two functional strategies, i.e. manufacturing and marketing and discuss that those need to be aligned with the corporate strategy, which needs to be considered in the implementation process.

Excellent students will furthermore critically reflect on the difficulties when using roadmapping, such as keeping roadmaps alive and updating it continuously.

25

2017

1a)

List four megatrends and explain how they are currently affecting global manufacturing.

Globalisation

  • Need to manage complex, distributed manufacturing operations, need to manage extended supply chains, ..

Demographic change

  • Availability of workers, skills of available workers, push to automation, changes in demand for products/services, ..

Sustainability

  • Requirements to lower CO2, reduce energy usage, waste minimisation/circular economy, changes to business models,

Urbanisation

  • Supply chain challenges, impact on retailing, changes in demand for products/services, ..

Accelerating product life-cycles

  • Need for tight coupling between R&D and manufacturing, rapid and efficient supply chains, ..

Threats to global stability

  • Supply chain vulnerability, potential of growing demand in defence sector, constrained collaboration opportunities, ..

Changing consumer habits

  • Sharing economy and impact on product design / usage, increased flexibility, mass customisation,

External industrial policy trends

  • Emphasis/de-emphasising the role of manufacturing in an economy will impact availability of public funding,

A better answer could include comment on

(1) how the impact of these trends is being felt differently in different contexts.

  • E.g., the impact of sustainability on manufacturing in China versus US, impact of demographic change in Japan versus Germany;

(2) examples of companies that are responding to these megatrends.

  • E.g. Zara and accelerating PLCs, Unilever and sustainability, et al., and

(3) how different megatrends might combine to affect global manufacturing.

 

 

26

2016

1b) 

“Engineering’s greatest challenge is keeping our manufacturing systems capable
of competing in the global marketplace” (Dr. Charles M. Vest). Discuss some of the different ways in which national governments are attempting to respond to this challenge.

Definitions – what is meant by ‘manufacturing’?

Should provide a basic definition around which the rest of the answer is developed.

Could draw upon the following:

  • transformation of materials using plants, factories and equipment
  • business systems including R&D, design, engineering to production
  • factories, production, delivery, material transformation

 

Basic issues –

  • should be able to explain 
    • why having a competitive manufacturing system is important (and could make links to answer to part (a)), and 
    • what a government can do to support its development, and 
    • how its performance can be measured.

Contexts – should draw upon material from at least two of the national approaches given in the lecture (Germany, US, Japan, UK) and/or from their own research.

Models/frameworks –

  • particular emphasis was given to the students on the importance of the use of models and frameworks to describe complex system issues such as those focused upon in this question. Even the basic answer should be structured around at least one of the many models and frameworks introduced.

Policy options –

  • should show awareness that support for the development of effective manufacturing systems rests on an understanding of the interplay between technology, manufacturing and innovation issues.
  • Should make at least passing reference to ecosystems / national innovations systems.
  • Should be able to describe elements of such systems and how government can influence the development of each element.

A better answer could include reflection on:

(1) how different nations conceptualise manufacturing differently, and hence are responding differently to the challenge.

(2) Reflection on the higher level issues of trade-offs in policy implementation especially in times of constrained public spending, and challenges of balancing regional, national and international issues.

(3) Reflection on the danger of simplistic models (e.g. ‘Smile Curve’) when considering ways to develop national manufacturing capabilities.

(4) Evidence of deeper understanding of the issues of technologies (e.g. development of ‘public good’ technologies) and the challenges of sector-specific approaches.

27

2016

3 (a)

The technology management process framework (ISAEP) combines five key processes. Provide one example for each of the five processes that explains the importance of patents or patent data for the related technology management decisions.

Identification:

  • Patent data can be extracted from different databases in order to identify actors that develop new technologies with possible relevance to a company.
  • For instance, a company may operate a technology scouting process as part of their foresight activities to pick up early signals from universities, start-ups, etc. on emerging technologies, which could potentially disrupt the company’s business.

Selection:

  • Information contained in patent data can be used to evaluate internal or external technologies or technology portfolios to support strategic decisions making.
  • For instance, firms can derive patent data from different databases and calculate multi-dimensional indicators (e.g. patent quality) that can be used as proxies for deciding among different strategic options.

Acquisition:

  • Patent data can be used to identify and evaluate potential acquisition targets. For instance, patent landscapes may be used to visualize patent portfolios of companies that have been identified as acquisition options.

Exploitation:

  • Having selected technologies to be exploited externally, patent data can be helpful to find non-competing companies in other markets and countries in which the own company does not operate and has limited knowledge about. For instance, patent forward citation networks can be used to identify potential licensees.

Protection:

  • Patents can be filed in different countries, respectively jurisdictions in order to protect outcomes of R&D investments (technical inventions) and prevent copying by competitors and thereby build or maintain a competitive advantage through innovativeness.

Good students will label the five ISAEP processes and provide rather general examples. Excellent students will be more specific in their examples. For instance, they may provide concrete company cases or explain in more detail how the data can be used in each example.

28

2017

3b)

In June 2014, Tesla announced a change to its strategic approach to patents. The following statement reflects the company’s new approach:

“There was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology... Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”

(i)  What does the new strategy say about Tesla’s future approach to patents?

b) (i)

-  Good students will conclude that Tesla is committed to an open innovation strategy aiming to build relations with other companies through freely licensing their technology.

  • Good answers will also show that students have understood the distinction between the decision to file patents (or not) and respectively the decision to enforce patents.
  • Importantly, the statement given above refers to the latter.
  • Tesla has committed itself not to enforce patents against others.
  • However, the statement does not say that Tesla will not apply for any more patents in the future.
  • Nor does the statement say that Tesla will drop its existing patents.
  • Hence, one may conclude that patents still remain important for Tesla.

Excellent students will then discuss the phrase “good faith”.

  • Students will conclude that this phrase appears to be vague, hence indicates that Tesla may still want to maintain control over its technology and its diffusion as well as to decide whether to sue a company or not.

Excellent students will also discuss that in addition to patents

  • the company may well possess other IP rights (e.g. trademarks, designs) that can be enforced instead of patents to sue firms that copy Tesla’s vehicle design.

29

In June 2014, Tesla announced a change to its strategic approach to patents. Thefollowing statement reflects the company’s new approach:

2017

4b)

“There was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology... Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”

(ii)  Discuss possible motives for Tesla’s patent strategy change and what thecompany would want to achieve.

  • A good answer should show that the student has understood that Tesla’s strategy change is not altruistic, but serves a strategic business motive. Making patents freely available at least creates positive publicity. It might be seen as a “noble” move to make patents available to others and benefit society with a transition to a sustainable future.
  • Good students will also show they have understood that what Tesla has done is called a “patent pledge”. They may well relate it to other examples (e.g. IBM as discussed in class, Google).
  • Good students will further discuss the development of Tesla in the context of the development of the electric vehicle industry. A good answer will find that Tesla has grown during the last decade from a start-up to a reasonably sized company. It has established itself as a known player in the industry, while the industry has not developed as much as expected.
  • Tesla has developed battery and charging technologies that compete with other technologies.
    • Linked to the IBM case discussed in the lecture, good students will conclude that in order to ensure future growth through the next stage of corporate development it seems quite likely that Tesla wants to establish its technology as an industry standard (dominant design).
    • Thereby, Tesla could accelerate the diffusion of its own technology.
    • The benefits of fostering a standard platform for electric car technology may well outweigh short term revenue gains from paid licensing agreements.
    • In other words, Tesla will benefit more from a growing electric vehicle market than from hoarding a lion’s share of a small market (positive feedback effects).
    • Excellent students will further underpin this generic argument with an example. For instance, if other OEM’s install Tesla-compatible charging stations, and use the same battery technology in their cars, that would mean greater market demand for Tesla’s technology, create new Tesla technology compatible knowledge and learning effects with positive spillover effects to Tesla.
  • Excellent students may further use analogous examples to illustrate how this effect has worked in other industries in the past.
    • For instance, the classical VHS case demonstrates that a licensing model can lead to the creation of an industry standard even though the technology’s performance is inferior to a competing technology (e.g. Video 2000).
    • Through a licensing model JVC, the company that owned the VHS technology, was able to grow the market substantially and benefit from the growth through substantial monetary returns.
  • Excellent students may also distinguish between the motives to freely license Tesla’s vehicle related technologies (i.e. batteries) and the charging infrastructure technology (i.e. positive network effects).
  • Excellent answers will also mention that the statement does not say anything on how Tesla will manage the free use of its technology. Other firms may be able to just use the technology or may have to approach Tesla and even sign a contract to get a free license. The latter option would enable Tesla to maintain control over who uses the technology.
  • Excellent students may then conclude that Tesla might design such free-license contracts in a way that it benefits the company. There are at least two design options which students could mention:
    • First, Tesla may implement a grant back clause for accessing subsequently technological improvements developed by the licensee that builds on Tesla technology.
    • Second, Tesla may want to use a “we won’t sue you if you don’t sue us” clause in these contracts, thereby gaining freedom to operate if Tesla eventually infringes patents of their licensees.
    • A well-known example is Microsoft, who used a NAP clause (non-assertion of patents) in their licensing contracts. The NAP clause required PC and device makers, and other OEMs who licensed Windows, to agree not to sue Microsoft or each other for patent infringement.

30

2016

5a) (i)

Explain what is meant by product management.

  • Product management is the organisational structure and activities within the business that manage the
    • development,
    • marketing and
    • sale of a product or set of products throughout the product life cycle.
  • It encompasses the broad set of activities required to get the product to market and support it thereafter.
  • The product life cycle curve (explained in lectures) illustrates this, and better students might be expected to sketch this to support their answer.