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Technology roadmapping approaches are increasingly being adopted (and adapted) around the world, at company, sector and national levels, since its first application in the late-1970s to support integrated product-technology planning. In the future, it is anticipated that roadmapping will be increasingly used as a core integrating mechanism for supporting strategic dialogue. This 'next generation' approach to roadmapping needs to be agile, responsive, scalable and flexible to meet the demands of an ever more competitive, global and dynamic competitive environment. In this paper, some of the design principles for next generation roadmapping are described, emphasising the need to position roadmapping at the heart of strategy and innovation.
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Int. J. Technology Intelligence and Planning, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2008 13
5
Copyright © 2008 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Next generation roadmapping for innovation planning
Robert Phaal*
Department of Engineering,
University of Cambridge,
Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 1RX, UK
Fax: +44 1223 766400
E-mail: rp108@cam.ac.uk
*Corresponding author
Lianne Simonse and Elke den Ouden
Philips Applied Technologies,
High Tech Campus 05, Floor 4,
5656 AE Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Fax: +31 40 2735103
E-mail: lianne.simonse@philips.com
E-mail: elke.den.ouden@philips.com
Abstract: Technology roadmapping approaches are increasingly being adopted
(and adapted) around the world, at company, sector and national levels, since
its first application in the late-1970s to support integrated product-technology
planning. In the future, it is anticipated that roadmapping will be increasingly
used as a core integrating mechanism for supporting strategic dialogue.
This ‘next generation’ approach to roadmapping needs to be agile, responsive,
scalable and flexible to meet the demands of an ever more competitive, global
and dynamic competitive environment. In this paper, some of the design
principles for next generation roadmapping are described, emphasising the need
to position roadmapping at the heart of strategy and innovation.
Keywords: roadmapping; innovation; new product development; strategy.
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Phaal, R., Simonse, L. and
den Ouden, E. (2008) ‘Next generation roadmapping for innovation planning’,
Int. J. Technology Intelligence and Planning, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp.135–152.
Biographical notes: Robert Phaal is a senior research associate in the
Centre for Technology at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses
on strategic technology management, with a particular interest in roadmapping.
The emphasis has been on exploring how to initiate roadmapping processes
using efficient workshop-based techniques, and the generalisation and
customisation of approach.
Lianne Simonse is a senior consultant in the Product Innovation Group at
Philips Applied Technologies, where she is involved with the design and
implementation of roadmapping for various business units at Philips, other
R&D intensive firms and multiparty innovation programmes. She also holds
a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Management Studies at
the Wageningen University.
136 R. Phaal et al.
Elke den Ouden manages a group of 25 product innovation consultants in
Philips Applied Technologies. The group advises on innovation management,
as well as structural improvement of innovation processes. She also holds a
position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial Design at the
Eindhoven University of Technology, with a focus on market/customer-driven
innovation.
1 Introduction
Technology roadmapping is increasingly used as a management technique for supporting
innovation, strategy and policy, at firm, sector and national levels. Motorola is widely
accredited with the initial development of the technology roadmapping approach in the
1970s, although Beeton (2007) has traced the origins of roadmapping back to the 1950s.
Through its long history, the roadmapping approach has evolved, as firms and other
organisations have adapted the concept to address their particular needs and the changing
business context (for example, Willyard and McClees, 1987; Groenveld, 1997; EIRMA,
1997; Kostoff and Schaller, 2001; Albright and Kappel, 2003; McMillan, 2003;
McCarthy, 2003; de Laat and McKibbin, 2003). The longevity of the method is attributed
to its ability to support strategic communication within and between organisations, and
the inherent flexibility of the method, which can be readily customised. This flexibility is
both an advantage and a challenge, as a standardised ‘off-the-shelf’ approach is rarely
feasible.
A key benefit of the approach is the communication associated with the
development and dissemination of roadmaps, particularly for aligning technology and
commercial perspectives, balancing market-pull and technology-push. Roadmaps can
take many forms, but the most general and flexible approach comprises a visual
time-based, multi-layered chart, illustrated in Figure 1, enabling the various functions and
perspectives within an organisation to be aligned, and providing a structured framework
to address three key questions: Where do we want to go? Where are we now? and
How can we get there?
The form of roadmap illustrated in Figure 1 is very flexible, and the structure of the
roadmap, and the process used to develop it can be adapted to suit many different
strategic and innovation contexts (Phaal et al., 2004). The roadmap framework can be
considered as a dynamic business or systems framework for strategy and innovation, with
the architecture of the roadmap providing a coherent and holistic structure (a common
language) within which the evolution of the business system and its components can be
explored, mapped and communicated.
The terms ‘roadmapping’ and ‘roadmap’ are widely used now (Phaal et al., 2005),
but can mean quite different things in terms of purpose, process and format. In particular,
there is confusion about the relationship between roadmapping and other business
processes such as strategic planning, innovation and new product introduction. This paper
seeks to clarify this relationship, emphasising the role of roadmapping in providing
a structured framework to support the innovation planning processes. Scoping and
integration issues are a key consideration when developing a roadmapping design,
in terms of working practices and how the method aligns with business processes,
Next generation roadmapping for innovation planning 137
other management tools, business systems and organisational structures (Eijnatten and
Simonse, 1999).
Figure 1 Schematic multi-layered roadmap, aligning functional strategies
Groenveld (1997) describes how the product-technology roadmapping method was
initially introduced and applied within Philips business units, and how the approach
combines the outputs from several management tools into a visual overview roadmap.
Since then, the roadmapping approach within Philips has been redesigned through a
succession of learning cycles, with empirical evidence collected on its application within
the firm. This has resulted in the development of a next-generation innovation planning
approach that incorporates multiple perspectives of product, market and technology at the
front-end of the innovation cycle.
The underpinning principles of roadmapping are described in this paper, emphasising
the importance of design and customisation associated with the generic approach
(Sections 2 and 3), illustrated by means of a simple bicycle business example (Section 4).
The flexibility of the innovation roadmapping approach is demonstrated through three
mini-cases illustrating the industrial application of the approach (Section 5).
This paper is based principally on decades of accumulated practical experience
of the authors in supporting the development of roadmaps in a wide variety of industrial
and business contexts. The aim is to share the best practice and make a contribution to the
conceptual foundations of the roadmapping method to stimulate further research.
2 Innovation planning process model
2.1 Conceptual framework
Roadmapping can support strategic dialogue within an organisation, particularly across
functions and levels, and also between organisations (for example, supply chain and
138 R. Phaal et al.
investors). While the method can be used as a stand-alone problem-solving approach, it
will tend to have much more impact if it is integrated with core business processes
where decisions are made and budgets allocated. Of particular, relevance are the strategic
planning and the front-end innovation processes, where decisions are routinely taken that
have a significant long-term impact, and where the situation is complex and the future
uncertain.
A generic front-end innovation process framework is presented in Figure 2, which
provides a basis for understanding how the roadmapping method can provide support.
The basic framework in Figure 2 is coherent with the widely used ‘funnel’ and stage-gate
process models for innovation and new product development (see for example, Cooper
and Kleinschmidt, 1994; Patterson, 1996; Khalil, 2000; Sarren, 1990; Twiss, 1992;
Wheelwright and Clark, 1992; Simonse, 1998; Ganguly, 1999). The front-end innovation
process framework is also applicable to strategic planning, often implemented over an
annual cycle – see for example, Wheelan and Hunger (1993), Porter (1985), Mintzberg
(1994), Floyd (1997) and Stacey and Ashton (1990).
Figure 2 Generic strategy and innovation process model, showing examples of activities and
approaches for each stage
This conceptual framework emphasises the ‘front-end’ of the process, where
roadmapping can have most impact, and is coherent with open innovation thinking
(no firm boundaries are shown in Figure 2). The market and technological intelligence,
capabilities and resources necessary to take forward strategic options and product/service
opportunities can come from inside or outside the firm (for example, Kirschbaum, 2005;
Witzeman et al., 2006; Chesbrough and Schwartz, 2007).
Next generation roadmapping for innovation planning 139
The front-end innovation process framework includes four stages (see Figure 2, for
example, activities and approaches at each stage):
1 The Explore stage aims to generate as many relevant ideas as possible, bringing
together ‘outside-in’ (market-pull) and ‘inside-out’ (technology-push) perspectives.
The development and synthesis of good quality commercial and technological
intelligence is crucial, aligned with the business vision and purpose, as a prerequisite
for identifying, understanding and appraising opportunities and threats in the external
environment (Kerr et al., 2006). The articulation of business value and innovation
drivers provide the basis for a creative cross-functional process in the next stage to
generate high-quality ideas.
2 The Create stage combines product/market/technology options, generates new ideas
and innovation concepts. Also, this stage aims to identify which ideas have the most
merit, with a need to rapidly filter out less interesting ideas, and to focus on the most
potentially rewarding ones, using organisation-specific selection criteria.
3 The Shape stage explores the opportunities in relation to the business constraints,
through a ‘first tuning’ innovation planning process. The resources necessary to
realise the innovation concepts are estimated, leading towards the preparation of a
clear business case to proceed (or not) with the innovation concept as a business
proposition.
4 The last (extensive) Implement stage includes detailed planning and validation
of the business case, developing market, financial, competence and R&D plans
(including customer evaluation and sourcing (den Ouden, 2006)), together with
in-service management and obsolescence or reuse.
Roadmapping can provide support throughout the life cycle, from identification of a
need, to product obsolescence/reuse. The structure of the roadmap provides a stable
common language throughout the life cycle, while the content of the roadmap and the
roadmapping process varies significantly between the Explore and Implement stages.
While the process elements in Figure 2 are presented in a linear fashion, the process is
iterative and scalable with multiple entry and exit points.
The first two stages are often linked together, but are separated here to highlight the
two stages of Explore and Create as a key feature of the next generation roadmapping
approach. The Explore stage is highly divergent, with the aim of bringing in knowledge
and business intelligence as a basis for roadmapping. It provides a platform for
generating many good ideas that are the focus of the Create process, where convergence
starts with combining the most interesting ideas (opportunities or options) into innovation
concepts. This divergent–convergent behaviour is repeated in the Shape stage, where
promising opportunities are explored further, focusing on those that have real promise.
The nature of the challenge is very different for the Explore–Create stages when
compared with Implementation, and the roadmapping approach needs to be adapted to
suit these extremes. The Explore–Create process is characterised by a creative process,
with each stage benefiting from cross-functional workshops, where the holistic structure
provided by the roadmap framework can be used to organise and capture participant
views. The Implement stage is characterised by organised formal processes and systems,
where roadmapping shares more characteristics with project planning.
140 R. Phaal et al.
2.2 Roadmapping practice
At Philips, the innovation roadmapping method, illustrated in Figure 3, is part of the
front-end of the business creation process. Innovation roadmapping starts by deployment
of a business strategy objective and ends with a validated roadmap.
Figure 3 Philips innovation roadmapping method (schematic)
The Philips product-technology roadmapping method (Groenveld, 1997) has become a
common practice in most business units of Philips product divisions (consumer
electronics, domestic appliance products, medical systems and consumer health systems).
It guides the technology choices and investment decisions for new product development
projects from a business programming perspective. By supporting the introduction of this
technology roadmapping method and sharing the best practice of business units within
each product division, Philips industry consultants have developed a next generation
roadmapping method that combines the market intelligence and customer insight research
from the marketing and sales functions with the technology, partner and supplier
perspectives from the research, engineering and development functions.
This next generation technology roadmapping approach, referred to as the ‘innovation
roadmapping’ method, is defined as follows:
“The innovation roadmapping method transforms market needs, market
intelligence, consumer knowledge and technology knowledge into a portfolio
of plans aimed at fulfilling the business creation strategy. These plans are
represented in so called innovation roadmaps and are in balance with the
resources.” (Philips, 2006)
Next generation roadmapping for innovation planning 141
This innovation roadmapping method includes the following activities:
end-user insight generation and proposition validation
concept creation and validation
product (architecture) planning
technology planning
competence planning.
At Philips, the roadmapping method has evolved from an approach used to support
functional strategy and planning to an integrated innovation planning method at the start
of the business creation process. Innovation roadmapping starts by deployment of a
business strategy objective and ends with a validated roadmap, including customer
validation (den Ouden, 2006). The four phases of the funnel process model (Figure 2) are
a good reflection of the stages that an innovation roadmapping team experiences.
The Philips innovation roadmapping method represented schematically in Figure 3
reflects how the tension between market-pull and technology-push is balanced through a
five-step process design. The application of the method is described in more detail in
Section 4.
3 Design principles
As well as defining a front-end innovation process model, the terms ‘roadmap’ and
‘roadmapping’ need clarification, as many different approaches have been developed
by organisations around the world to address many different applications (Phaal, 2006).
For example, Bob Galvin (1998) who was CEO of Motorola during the period when
roadmapping was established provides the following definition:
“A ‘roadmap’ is an extended look at the future of a chosen field of inquiry
composed from the collective knowledge and imagination of the brightest
drivers of change in that field”.
This definition emphasises the importance that knowledge and expertise plays in the
process, the forward-looking nature of the approach, and its flexibility.
In this section, some key features are described that enable the roadmapping
approach to support front-end strategy and innovation, to explore, create and shape
options and opportunities. Then, a checklist of design issues and principles is presented
that help to configure the generic roadmapping framework and approach to suit the
application, including integration issues.
Key features of next-generation roadmapping for front-end strategy and innovation:
Visualisation is a key aspect of effective roadmapping, both in terms of the
elicitation of information from groups (workshops), and also analysis and
representation for communication purposes.
142 R. Phaal et al.
Time is a fundamental dimension that must be represented, generally explicitly or
sometimes implicitly (for example, the sequence of events might be represented
rather than actual dates if timing is uncertain). Roadmaps look towards the future
for the purpose of helping to build consensus on the route forward, and what
to do next (actions).
One-page views are recommended wherever possible, in terms of visualisations
and associated summary text. This supports communication and ensures that the key
issues are focused on, set against the context provided by the ‘big picture’ view
provided by the roadmap structure. One-page views can also be updated more easily,
enabling the process to be more agile, enabling the roadmaps to keep pace with the
rapidly changing business situations.
Integration with core business processes is critical if the roadmapping is to have an
impact on decisions and budgets. For strategic planning processes that often have
an annual cycle linked to budget allocation, roadmaps can support the collation and
presentation of information up, down and across the organisation, and with key
suppliers, customers, strategic partners and investors. For innovation and new
product development, roadmaps can be the key reporting and communication
documents at review points and stage gates.
Multiple stakeholder perspectives are always important for strategy and innovation
roadmaps, internally and externally, with the commercial–technical interface of
particular importance. The linkages that are captured on the roadmap are important,
as these often reflect relationships between stakeholders, with the roadmap being the
visible statement of that (social) contract.
People should be the focus when using roadmapping at the front-end of
innovation and strategy (Explore–Create and Shape stages), rather than software.
Cross-functional workshops are a core ingredient, where facilitation techniques
become a key factor in how the roadmapping framework is used to support the
strategic dialogue.
Customisation is typically needed to adapt the roadmap structure and process
to suit the particular application. Organisations should experiment with the
technique, designing initiatives in a phased way that delivers immediate benefits,
building support for further development.
The following principles should be considered when designing a roadmapping
initiative to support the customisation (configuration) of roadmapping to suit the
particular business need and context:
Scope. The business need must be clearly understood, and aims articulated
(who is the customer?). The context and scope must also be clearly understood;
the unit-of-analysis (granularity) can range from components in complex products
to platforms, functions, business units, corporations and entire industrial sectors and
fields of science.
Next generation roadmapping for innovation planning 143
Context. The approach will depend on the business and innovation context,
for example, position in the process funnel/pipeline (Figure 2), innovation type
(incremental vs. radical), level of uncertainty and available information/knowledge.
A roadmap workshop can be used to capture a ‘snapshot’ of the best overview of the
current thinking, to identify opportunities, key issues for discussion, as a basis for
moving forward.
Stakeholders. Ownership and participation are critical success factors, with the
process benefiting from wide-ranging perspectives: levels in organisation, functions
(in particular commercial-technical) and other organisations (suppliers, customers,
investors, partners). Workshop agendas, activities and facilitation techniques need to
be adapted to suit the group size.
Architecture. The roadmap ‘architecture’ (structure) should be adapted to suit the
issue being addressed. The principle is illustrated in Figure 1, where key strategic
questions and knowledge perspectives provide a generic framework that can be
adapted to fit the particular application, by defining appropriate timeframes and
layers (and sub-layers). A holistic approach is recommended, where all of the
important perspectives are represented appropriately, providing a common visual
language and structure within which many strategic issues can be positioned and
discussed. Based on hierarchical taxonomies, a scalable framework can be designed
that can then be used throughout the process and at different levels of granularity.
An example roadmap architecture is shown in Figure 4.
Process. The roadmapping process needs to be adapted to suit the issue being
addressed. This includes a ‘macro’-process, typically over periods of weeks and
months, aligned with core business process deadlines (a new product development
stage gate, for example), together with a ‘micro’-process defined by the agenda of
any workshops that are run to support the macro-process.
Alignment. Integration aspects should be considered, in terms of how roadmapping
links to other business processes, other management tools (for example, portfolio
methods, scenario planning, balanced scorecard), information systems and
organisational structures (Simonse, 1998; Eijnatten and Simonse, 1999).
Preparation. Identify available information, and any constraints or assumptions that
need to be made, together with preparation required for workshops.
The condensed visual format of a roadmap is important, providing a ‘one-page’
high-level view of the system in question, incorporating all key perspectives in a form
that supports the strategic dialogue necessary for developing consensus and aligning
action. This kind of roadmap can be thought of as a general-purpose ‘strategic lens’,
through which a complex system (such as a business) can be viewed. The purpose
of this lens is to structure and represent multiple interrelated perspectives on
the evolution of the system, providing a framework to support understanding and
dialogue.
144 R. Phaal et al.
Figure 4 Example roadmap structure (knowledge architecture)
4 Customisation example
Different lines of businesses aim for different competitive advantages depending
on factors such as size and industrial sector. In response to these different needs,
customisation of roadmapping to the innovation and organisation context has become a
proven practice of the industry consultants of Philips, with the following approach
adopted:
1 Roadmapping scope analysis
2 Tailored roadmapping design
3 Roadmapping business simulation (TRAPCO B.V.)
4 Roadmapping kick-off for:
a innovation intelligence session
b innovation assessment session
c innovation concepts session
d roadmap planning session
5 Roadmapping validation.
Before getting started with roadmapping, the scope of the roadmap needs to be defined.
The roadmapping scope analysis (Step 1, above) includes a review of innovation, strategy
and other relevant documents from the organisation, together with stakeholder interviews
Next generation roadmapping for innovation planning 145
and planning meetings. Based on the generic Philips innovation roadmapping method,
pictured in Figure 3, a tailored roadmapping approach is designed that fits the scope and
the organisation. The design is developed from a generic innovation roadmap template
(including visualisation), together with a process design for the implementation of the
innovation roadmapping method, including detailed activities, roles and responsibilities
and scheduling of workshops and meetings.
For the purpose of training all key stakeholders involved in the activity, the
roadmapping design is simulated with the TRAPCO bicycle business game.
This captures the best practices of Philips’ roadmapping processes and reduces the
complexity of (confidential) content to a level of simplicity that enables the principles to
be understood. The TRAPCO simulation is used in kick-off meetings to visualise the
roadmapping design, from which various sessions are organised. The generic themes of
these sessions are: innovation intelligence, innovation assessment, innovation concepts
and roadmap planning. Finally, the roadmap is validated from at least a financial
perspective, and if included in the roadmapping design, a customer validation and a
competitor benchmark.
Figure 5 shows a one-page overview of the TRAPCO ‘simplicity game’, which
comprises five steps:
1 Innovation intelligence activities include ‘outside-in’ and ‘inside-out’ investigations.
Step 1(a) identifies the market information for the purpose of defining business
drivers, while Step 1(b) identifies the technologies and defines the innovation
drivers.
2 Innovation assessment converges the shared knowledge into a collective assessment.
Step 2(a) assesses the product/market positioning and product roadmap, while
Step 2(b) assesses technologies by business and innovation driven criteria. Both
assessments combine at least market-pull and technology-push perspectives, but also
can include multiparty perspectives in the value chain.
3 Innovation conceptualisation diverges to identify new options for product concepts.
In the case of incremental innovation, the product architecture is used for generation
and evaluation of module concepts.
4 Innovation roadmap planning converges the results of all previous steps in a first
overview of the innovation roadmap. Then a ‘first tuning’ stage starts with the
product roadmap to review the new product and technology development projects.
The ‘second tuning’ stage starts from the financial objectives and business
constraints.
5 Innovation validation defines the innovation targets for the long term and validates
the innovation project plans for the short term. One line in the innovation roadmap
provides the outline for project proposals, from which innovation projects can be
initiated.
Figure 5 provides a visual impression of ‘how the funnel works!’, for purposes
of illustration. Each step in the innovation roadmapping process results in content for
the corresponding layers in the innovation roadmap. However, the relation between
product/market/technology layers is most important, to which special attention is
dedicated in the roadmap design. The time-related planning of this content is postponed
until Step 4, except for the product roadmap that directs the innovation from a
146 R. Phaal et al.
market-pull perspective. The end result is an innovation roadmap customised and
designed to fit the business scope and alignment needs.
Figure 5 One-page overview of the simplicity game TRAPCO B.V. simplicity game, used by
Philips Industry Consultants for training purposes
5 Implementation examples
5.1 Case 1: Organisational integration
This case relates to the Explore–Create stages of the front-end innovation process model
(Figure 2). A large global packaging manufacturer had grown by acquisition, with its
business units organised by product and geography, and with a central R&D facility.
Funding for the central research organisation (a legacy of a prior acquisition/merger)
was provided through a tax on business units. However, commercial-technical dialogue
was not effective, with a lack of market/commercial direction leading to a technology
portfolio with a poor record of exploitation.
A series of workshops was held, bringing together communities from the business
units (senior management, marketing, sales, finance, manufacturing) and senior technical
experts from the central research group, focusing on the identification and appraisal of
innovation opportunities. The roadmap architecture enabled a process to be established
for managing the dialogue between these two groups (representing market-pull and
technology-push), leading to a realignment of research funds to projects where there was
a strong pull from business units.
Next generation roadmapping for innovation planning 147
Figure 6 shows a photograph from a typical workshop, where the roadmap framework
(the customised structure is visible) was used to capture wide-ranging perspectives from a
large group of 20–25 participants, to create a ‘strategic landscape’. This provided
a basis for identifying potential innovation opportunities and strategic options,
which were filtered down to about ten priority topics (Explore–Create stages).
In small groups, the participants then used the roadmap structure to explore the priority
topics in more depth, creating mini-roadmaps, from which key learning points can be
identified, such as risks, questions, decision points, options, enablers and barriers
(Create–Shape stages).
Figure 6 Roadmapping workshop, showing how information from across a broad scope can be
gathered (to create a ‘landscape’), as a basis for identifying innovation opportunities
and strategic options
5.2 Case 2: Business clock
This case relates to the integration of the innovation roadmapping approach with business
processes, covering the Explore–Implement stages of the front-end innovation process
model (Figure 2), typically associated with an annual product introduction cycle in the
consumer electronics industry. Companies present their new product ranges and latest
innovations every year in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
In this case, the company has aligned its internal processes with this major external event.
The show not only presents own products but also initiates the analysis of the current
market, competitive position and upcoming technologies. Based on the outcome of this
analysis, options and scenarios are worked out into a draft roadmap, which includes
architectures and platforms.
148 R. Phaal et al.
Focus groups are used to validate ideas collected in the draft roadmap, based on
consumer attractiveness. The portfolio of ideas is checked for feasibility, in terms of both
technology and required resources. The portfolio of new product development projects is
then balanced, based on risk, business potential and available resources. The final
roadmap is then used to prepare assignments for new product development teams who
develop products based on the selected architectures. During new product development,
detailed concepts are discussed with dealers to get their feedback and to enable
them to prepare marketing communication material in time for market introduction.
The dealers also forecast expected sales, which provide an input for the annual operating
plan that is made at business unit level. Production and the first mass shipments take
place prior to the next trade show, to ensure availability of the products in the stores for
customers after the show.
The process is illustrated as a ‘business clock’, shown in Figure 7, with each hour of
the clock representing a month.
Figure 7 Business clock, showing how a yearly process cycle of roadmapping and new product
development is aligned with important events in the market (in this case, the Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas each January)
5.3 Case 3: Multifunctional roadmap
This case relates to the Shape stage of the front-end innovation process model (Figure 2).
A manufacturer of modules for the computer industry wanted to create a roadmap that
links product planning information to internal product development projects, as well as
external technology and component development activities that take place at suppliers.
Next generation roadmapping for innovation planning 149
Figure 8 shows the resulting multifunctional roadmap. At the top, the trends in
product-related customer requirements are shown. A differentiation is made for high-end
products, low-cost products and products for portable applications. In the middle of the
picture, the product plan is shown, which indicates when new products will be introduced
to the market. The target specification for these products can be derived from the trends
in customer requirements, which are indicated by the arrows connecting customer
requirements to a specific product. The computer industry is a market where competition
is fierce – new products need to be launched each quarter. Module manufacturers need to
supply their new generation products exactly on time to computer manufacturers – being
late is not an option.
Figure 8 Multifunctional roadmap
The projects required to realise the modules are shown below the product plan in
Figure 8, including key components and technologies. The length of the bars indicates the
150 R. Phaal et al.
estimated required development throughout time. At the bottom of the roadmap,
important development activities that will take place at suppliers are also indicated and
linked to own development activities.
Figure 8 represents an intermediate result of the roadmapping process. Some of the
development activities will not deliver the required results in time (as can be seen by the
arrows connecting these projects to the products in the product plan). The roadmap was
used to create alignment between the product plan and the development activities. It was
used to take out products in the portfolio that were not feasible, as well as speeding up
development projects that required earlier results. It was also used to confirm expected
delivery dates for suppliers. The multidisciplinary view that connects information from
product management and planning, research and development, as well as purchasing,
enables management teams to align and prioritise activities together.
6 Conclusions and recommendations
This paper describes how the next generation roadmapping has developed from a
product-technology dominated perspective into a core element of an integrated
strategy and innovation processes that equally balance market-pull (requirements and
opportunities) and technology-push (capabilities and resources) in the organisation.
The emphasis has been on a conceptual framework for the (fuzzy) front-end innovation
processes, drawn from best practices of innovation planning at Philips. In addition, some
of the design aspects of roadmapping have been described and a set of principles that
support the human-centric process that is critical at the creative front-end of strategy and
innovation. The design and customisation of roadmapping has been illustrated with a
bicycle business simulation used within the Philips innovation roadmapping process, and
a series of three short anecdotal cases.
Although roadmapping as a management technique has been evolving for more than
three decades, and is now widely applied in many sectors and parts of the world, there
has been relatively little research activity to support its conceptual development. A few of
the areas that would benefit from research in the future include:
The visual nature of roadmaps is one of the main reasons for the appeal of the
technique. However, from many examples that have been collected (Phaal, 2006),
it is clear that the quality of graphic design is variable, and guidance on how to
develop effective communication roadmaps would be welcome.
The nature of innovation is changing, driven by global financial, technological,
political and social trends, becoming more open, dynamic and faster. Strategic
planning and innovation processes need to accelerate and be more agile to respond to
this world, and research is needed to develop suitable approaches.
Further work is needed to understand what constitutes a core set of management
tools and frameworks that can address common strategic planning and innovation
challenges, and how these fit together. The vision is of a ‘universal’ tool kit,
comprising generic tools, together with the rules for customising, combining and
configuring them together to address a range of business issues in an integrated
fashion (Phaal et al., 2006).
Next generation roadmapping for innovation planning 151
Workshops form an essential element of roadmapping for the front-end of innovation
and strategy. However, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to get key people
together as often as desirable, and so work is needed to see how collaborative
web-based tools and other technology such as electronic whiteboards/walls can be
used to make the process more efficient, without compromising the key personal and
group benefits associated with traditional workshops.
Collaboration between industry and universities is essential to enable advances in this
area, combining the practical application of ideas with the development of conceptual
frameworks and management theory.
Acknowledgements
The authors acknowledge contributions from colleagues Clare Farrukh, José Loeffen,
Mariëlle Meuffels and David Probert during preparation of this paper.
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