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How canan R&Dgroup getothersinterested Research and development creates value, but
only when its ideas are commercialised.
However, R&D departments often find it
in its ideas? difficult to get even the best ideas adopted by
others, and hence this value is wasted.
Anne Miller discusses the reasons for this,
and gives examples of techniques used to get
buy-in in a variety of organisations.
Successful innovation needs
in love with their ideas that they can’t engage others in support of their ideas.
are clearly creative, but it is frustratingly and development (R&D) organisation is Creative personality traits
mavericks, but not yet creative stars.
increase the chance that their ideas will ‘mavericks’ out of this cycle by focusing creative people: conceptual fluency – in sensitivity to rejection, and are often very This ‘group think’ played a major role plays to people’s strengths and is much of catastrophic seal failure on the space Not Invented Here
to encourage ‘group think’ amongst the syndrome
maximise the licence revenue raised.
innovation, and that this didn’t really serious barrier. This is not just because people tend to prefer their own ideas. As was shown by Katz’s classic study,1 NIH effectively dampening initiative within the been together for as little as four years.
included a discussion of the issue at the In some cases, R&D’s good ideas are categories. This can result in ideas being because the R&D group is not valued.
inappropriately rejected on the basis that ‘we tried that years ago and it didn’t a group feels that it is not valued, group work’, or being categorised incorrectly group’s own ideas. The group often only ‘failures’ likely. In cases like this, things that are genuinely unsatisfactory. ignored by the rest of the organisation. thus encouraging more communication.
This growing self-respect resulted in the portfolio, analogous to the portfolios of Figure 1 Analyst personality grouping,
MBTI Creativity Index
Understanding the
In the first stage of the selling process, and of the needs of European drivers.
of the R&D managers found this a very child-proof pill bottles, the first step for departments over failed R&D projects.
experience of the problem. If the idea is create the motivation to adopt an idea.
This applies in organisational change, in adoption of technological innovation.
voice dissatisfaction with the status quo, ‘The trouble is, they’re just not creative.’ this first stage difficult, and so this critical 18 months later we were told ‘They’re first step is often simply left out.
we’re reorganising marketing to cope.’ likely to be commercially successful than be familiar with the situation of an R&D at this early stage there is no substitute from the MD to deliver a critical project, for direct first-hand contact between the listening’. It’s not enough just to tell contribution, in the long run, asking for permission to say that ‘We played a key their peers – equivalent project leaders role in the success of product X’ works measured by the MBTI creativity index).
their ability to reshape (‘morph’) ideas instructing that, for a period of time, all R&D group’s ideas in the future. ■ Further reading
project groups’, R&D Management difficult for a person to feel relaxed and 12, (1) 1982.
2 For an excellent discussion of the full reduce their patients’ cholesterol levels, Transfer
Rocket Ship of Innovation’, Research relinquish control while helping the idea Anne Miller is Director of The
Creativity Partnership
( where she focuses
If the recipient doesn’t feel they’ve on helping organisations realise their
innovative potential.
Before moving
into the learning
and development
when a product is transferred from R&D field, she was a co-
to production, or between R&D groups.
founder of TTP
Group, now
Europe’s leading
holding fast to the original vision for the independent
technology innovation organisation.
She ran their Innovative Engineering
sector from 1988 to 2000. She has a
degree in Engineering, and numerous


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