Building an Information-Driven R&D Organization

Every new product or product enhancement starts with a new idea. In diverse hightech industries like semiconductors, MEMS, NEMS, PV-Cells and Nanomaterials personal experiences gained through previous developments provide a major contribution to new developments. Other sources for information and inspiration include colleagues, scientific papers and old lab books. However, this is where problems arise. Colleagues are not always available and it is not always clear if a certain experiment has already been conducted. Lab books are a great resource for historical data, but in most cases, they are only useful to the people who wrote them. Even if computer files are available, they are often distributed on several file servers, desktops or laptops or hidden somewhere. Furthermore, every engineer has his/her own way of storing information, which means that various office and freeware software is used to create documentation.
In times of growing international competition and shrinking market niches, innovation with new and improved products becomes a key success or even survival factor. As motivated above, access to historical information, knowledge and wisdom is the contributing factor in technology innovation. However current business practices are oftentimes far from optimal. Centralized knowledge repositories and shared collaboration platforms are seldom in use and therefore the learning aptitude of organizations is limited.
The software-based approach introduced with this whitepaper aims to increase the learning aptitude of organizations or whole collaboration networks. It allows engineers to manage and look at historical as well as current data, information, and knowledge and to build relations between the gathered results. Collaborative learning in organizations and networks becomes much easier which directly impacts the engineering efficiency and innovativeness of organizations. As a bottom line teams become at least 20% more effective, execute 20% less experiments, and increase IP reuse by at least 25%. Overall a 5% revenue uplift by streamlining the innovation activities can be expected.

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