Understanding communication flows in R&D laboratories for the last five decades has been enhanced by illuminating the role of R&D gatekeepers. Simply put, for applied projects (as opposed to basic or service R&D). the R&D gatekeeper- usually the first-line supervisor in a research group - was traditionally the primary reservoir of ideas for new and improved products. Add marketing and one has the balanced model of idea sourcing. Have things changed? Data from three studies conducted over 15 years on successful sourcing of ideas for new products and services, show that the profile for the R&D gatekeeper has evolved away from primary dependence on first-line supervisors. This role is now more broadly shared across several positions above (e.g. R&D middle management and VP of R&D) and below (e.g. engineering and R&D staff) the technical supervisor, especially in small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Department, Program, or Center
Research Technology Management. 2007. 50. (5). 56-66.
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