familiarising the R&D personnel with basic concepts, practices and
principles of business management will be useful. The R&D personnel
need to understand management basics like project management, organisational behaviour, and marketing. It is important then that
they are familiar with these practices and apply them in practice.
Similarly, there are aspects of HRD, finance, systems, etc, which R&D
personnel need to have an understanding of. A customised management
education and training package could fulfil this need of the hour.
The management should therefore organise short duration programmes
that will help the R&D personnel to understand, practice and speak the
lingo of business. The R&D personnel need to fine-tune their
management skills in order to make the knowledge created by them
saleable. This calls for reorientation in their attitude and approach.
It should be clear that coupling the discipline of business management
with R&D need not necessarily curb creativity of the personnel. As a
matter of fact, it is now being widely recognised in the industry that
scientific creativity in isolation, no matter how outstanding and
original, unless managed in a framework of business discipline, can
lead to waste and chaos. It is imperative, therefore, that R&D
personnel be re-oriented to meet the demands of the market, which has
become highly competitive.
Since the innovation system differs across industries and across
companies within industries, the training should be customised to the
need of the particular R&D unit. It should be a blend of theory and
practice, including live case study discussions. The discussion about
the participants’ experience in handling the projects, backed with
management theories, would be the right way to learn. Inter-active
sessions with participants would enhance the understanding of the
process of R&D management in a more focused manner.
R&D project management is different from management of other kind of
projects as the uncertainties and technological obsolescence is higher
here. The effectiveness parameters and the best practices for R&D
project management are also different. The best practices of R&D
management should be coupled with the project management best
practices to arrive at the desired course for R&D management.
It is sad that managements as well as training providers are not well
aware of the need of management basics for R&D personnel. No wonder,
it is rare to find a training provider exclusive for R&D management.
Since the field is new, we do not have any professionally recognised
body for R&D project management, providing basic management training
for R&D personnel. Overseas consultants cannot be useful for Indian
R&D as the nature of R&D differs for developing countries like India.
Academic research in this area can be the basic source in providing
the background for the training. The training programme should be
based on an in-depth research on management of R&D in Indian
It can be ascertained that the training package should define,
describe and illustrate the process of R&D management, including an
analysis of areas like scope, time, strategy, resource allocation
decisions, quality principles, planning and selection of R&D projects,
and evaluation of projects, which is generally considered as a
dilemma. Risk management should form the core of the training, since
R&D is considered as a risky endeavour revolving around uncertainties.
New product development, technology transfer issues, strategic
alliances, and intellectual property issues, also form an important
area with which the R&D personnel need to be familiarised. Developing
an interface between marketing and R&D and effective commercialisation
of technology is critical for success. Hence, training programmes
should focus on this issue as well. The module should also emphasise
on the ‘softer’ side of R&D management like HR issues, communication,
organisational culture, organisational climate and structure.
By familiarising R&D personnel with these management basics that are
R&D specific, Indian technology research can take a leap in the global
market. The success and failure of innovation depends a lot on
strategic management and organisational environment. To remain
competitive, it is the need of the hour that the management should
wake up to this call and organise short-term management courses for
its R&D personnel. Leaving them in isolation to be creative is not
going to help anybody. They need to compete in the global world with
the knowledge created in laboratories. Unless the same knowledge is
brought and sold in the market it is just an intellectual waste.