Topics: Management, Innovation, Research Pages: 15 (4518 words) Published: September 14, 2013
Managing Innovation And Quality of Collaborative R & D*
Dr Fang Zhao
The Centre for Management Quality Research, RMIT University P O Box 71 Bundoora 3083 Victoria Australia Tel: 61-3-9925-7708, Fax: 61-3-9925-7696, E-mail: fang.zhao@rmit.edu.au

This paper addresses key issues of innovation and quality in inter-organisational R & D where research providers collaborate with research users. The paper contributes to the theory and practice of managing inter-organisational R & D through developing strategies to enhance innovation, quality and entrepreneurship of the partnerships. The paper concludes that effective innovation management combined with TQM principles enhances quality of collaborative R & D and promotes cutting edge application and practice of research outputs. Key-words: Innovation Process, Quality Management, Collaborative R & D



As we enter the new millennium, knowledge-based industries are increasingly becoming a key part of our industrial landscape. In the current knowledge-driven economy, innovation obviously underpins the quality of R & D and the constant generation of novel technologies. Also, in the current economy, innovation, quality and entrepreneurship become essential to R & D management including the management of collaborative R & D projects involving several organisations. The objectives of the current paper are: • to identify critical factors affecting innovation management in collaborative R and D; • to explore management and entrepreneurial skills that are required to take and develop innovative R and D; • to explore the relationship between quality and innovation in fostering and sustaining successful partnerships between research providers and users; and • to develop strategies to enhance innovation, quality and entrepreneurship of collaborative R & D. *The author gratefully acknowledges the support of Computing Devices Canada - a General Dynamics Company - in carrying out the research reported in this paper.


In Australia, the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Program plays an important role in the Australian innovation system and CRCs embody the most formalised structure of research providers and industries (Moore, 1998). The paper draws upon a case study of the Australian CRC Program to illustrate innovation implementation and management in R & D in which research organisations collaborate with industries as research users. This paper is important because it deals with innovation management in one of the most pivotal areas of the current knowledge-driven economy, namely, in R & D – the specialised, scientific realm of research and development. Moreover, the paper contributes to theory and practice of managing inter-organisational R & D where research organisations and industries join together in R & D, through developing strategies for innovation, quality and entrepreneurship within the partnerships. The paper starts with exploration of the synergy between R & D and innovation through examining the role of R & D in the processes of innovation and innovation evaluation. The paper extends the discussion to the key issues and critical factors of innovation management in R & D as well as in collaborative R & D involving several organisations. Then follows an exposition of the relationship between innovation and quality improvement. By synthesising the key issues of innovation and quality management in R & D identified in the literature and the case study of the Australian CRC Program, the paper concludes with a proposal of strategies to promote innovation, quality and entrepreneurship in collaborative R & D, based upon Makinsey’s 7Ss management model (Peters and Waterman, 1982).


Innovation and R & D

2.1 Role of R & D in Innovation Process Over half a century, R & D has been associated closely with technological innovation. The high points of the first generation of R & D departments occurred in the mid-20th century. At that time, the...

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