Transforming R&D-business collaboration to improve short & mid-term growth

Transforming R&D-business collaboration to improve short and mid-term growth

How do you re-allocate your R&D budgets and resources, while changing the way of working with company-wide buy-in, to reveal a committed revenue upside of multiple millions of euros in one to three years, in a matter of months? You challenge your R&D teams to revise, elaborate and re-prioritize their existing development portfolio via a collaborative gamified transformation project.

The case in short:

  1. The challenge: transforming how R&D and business collaborate in a lean and inclusive manner and creating an R&D fast-lane for accelerated project delivery
  2. The approach: a gamified transformation linking central R&D dreams with local S&M daily reality to revise, elaborate and re-prioritize the existing development portfolio
  3. The results: reshuffled R&D budgets and resources, resulting in 10% fast-lane projects receiving 30% of the available budget, with a committed revenue upside of tens of millions of euros in one to three years

Transforming innovation ideas into real growth

A well-performing global and independent family-owned automotive company decided to strongly invest in innovation as a key pillar for future growth. To realize this, they created a venture incubator for disruptive innovations, expanded their advanced engineering capacity, and launched a division-wide gamified competition to challenge the broader employee community to bring forward ideas for new business opportunities. This was the first project for which they called on Venture Spirit.

Two years down the road, none of the selected winners of the game had made the transition to real new business yet. In this context, the divisional management wanted to prioritize and accelerate ongoing R&D projects, and they also felt the need to introduce new cross-departmental collaboration and to get organizational buy-in on this new way of working in a lean manner.

Together with Venture Spirit they rolled out a second competition with a two-fold objective: to valorize their current R&D technologies, and to turn them into real growth by combining their engineering and business strengths viand ensuring a smoother handover to the business.

I strongly believe in this programme. Whilst two years ago, the competition was all about new ideas, this round is about transforming them into real growth.

Company Owner

Preparing a gamified business transformation

Phase I: project portfolio analysis

In a first step, Venture Spirit evaluated the existing R&D portfolio to truly grasp the challenge at hand. This screening revealed lots of valuable ongoing projects, 31 of which were deemed suitable to deliver value in the short term. The selected teams were coached to complete a technical business one-pager to make them ready for the gamified prioritization process.

Phase II: playful transformation

A Venture Game instigated R&D and business to work together in a lean way. The game environment stimulated them to step out of their usual network and to collaborate cross-functionally with R&D, business segments, marketing, and finance, while the game dynamics helped them to co-develop the business and action plans needed to speed up implementation. A tailored communication campaign triggered the entire division community (more than 4000 people) to step in and make a difference.

Enthusiastic teams collaborating significantly better, delivering faster development

The engagement and participation levels were very high: more than 30% of the target audience registered for the game. The 31 selected projects received on average 488 community contributions from 6 different functional entities each. At the end of the game, the best teams were treated to a vehicle exhibition, a factory tour, and a crazy off-road driving experience at Porsche in Leipzig, after a Dragon’s Den in front of the executive management jury. The top 3 projects received an immediate ticket allowing for a “fast-lane” implementation and re-allocated budget. In addition, each project received specific business support and a dedicated executive board mentor.

The tangible benefits of this project were multifold:

  • Committed revenue upside of tens of millions of euros in one to three years’ time
  • Increased R&D effectivity through resource focus on projects that can move the needle in the short run
  • Transparent de-risking of projects into action plans leading to faster development and smoother transfer to production
  • Transformation in collaboration from push to pull, resulting in higher quality handovers with business and fewer delays

We have seen a good number of great projects that can make a difference. Now we are all committed and focused to bring them into business

Executive Vice President

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