Scalable Toolkit Platform
We have developed a scalable toolkit platform which provides the building blocks to rapidly design and deploy a set of tools for addressing a wide range of strategic planning, technology management and innovation activities. The platform is based on a minimum core set of three tools (roadmaps, portfolio matrices and interlinked grids), with the roadmap as the key tool.
Jointly, these provide a toolkit platform that is:
- Customisable to the different technology strategy issues and their analyses,
- Coherent, in that the use of a common framework across the various issues allows for integration, synchronisation and alignment of the analyses, and
- Scalable, and applicable to both broad and specific analyses, and at different organisational levels (e.g. technology, product/service/process and business levels, as required for technology strategy).
The core tools
Roadmaps - used to align and plan, enabling different groups or disciplines to achieve consensus on how best to move forward and realise a vision.
Matrices - used to prioritise and balance, providing focus on specific layers or areas of the roadmap or analysis resulting from the interlinked grid.
Interlinked grids - used to plot and weight. Plotting uncovers relationships, unravels complex interconnections, emphasises interdependencies and highlights gaps or overlaps. Weighting can then be applied to provide contrast and significance to the plots.
Strategic planning tools
We can use this platform to integrate a range of tools and expertise to support decision making and overall technology management and innovation, including:
Evaluation and selection of technology-based projects: Using multi-factor scoring techniques to prioritise and choose between possible innovation projects.
Make or buy (competence assessment): Making the choice of which technology to develop and work with in house, and similarly where and how to source technology from outside the business.
Uncertainty & risk management: Risk management tools and frameworks can be integrated with roadmapping to better understand and manage the risks and uncertainties inherent with technological innovation.
Open innovation: Innovation is an increasingly distributed process, involving networks of geographically dispersed players with a variety of possible – and dynamic – value chain configurations.
Scenarios: Managing the risks associated with long term uncertainties, scenario planning provides a structured approach for exploring how possible futures can be considered in strategy today.
Technology & market intelligence: Shape intelligence activity, systems functions and processes to keep abreast of the latest technology developments.
Trends and drivers analyses: Mapping and analysing external trends and drivers that may pose strategic threats and opportunities for an organisation.
Visualisation: Setting strategic direction is important for mobilising and aligning thinking and action for innovation, ensuring a common view between commercial and technical perspectives.
Putting tools into practice
Creating a toolkit is, arguably, the easy bit. Using them in practice is often where the real challenge lies. To have any chance of succeeding, the toolkit must be embedded into the current organisational systems and processes and aligned with the business cycle. Training and guidance needs to be in place, as do processes for monitoring outputs and putting them into practice, for making ongoing refinements based on user feedback, managing resource constraints and corporate expectations.