Customising and deploying roadmapping in an organisational setting: The LEGO Group experience


Presented at the 2016 R&D Management Conference

When roadmapping is being introduced into an organisation, there are a number of 'reference' processes publicly available which can be consulted to help ease the barriers to implementation and to get a better feel of what's involved with deploying the tool. However it is critical to recognise that such reference processes offer a baseline design and careful consideration should be given to how they could be adopted for use within a specific organisational setting. Through a collaborative research engagement with the LEGO Group, this paper will use that experience to capture the process journey (including the problems faced by the users and lessons learned) in customising a reference process and the deployment of the adapted approach. The main modifications were extensive pre-workshop activities leading to a better filtration of stakeholder inputs, pre-population of data onto the roadmapping canvas, post-workshop processing linked to cross-functional action planning and on-going portfolio review activities.

Paper available upon request.


Cogitate, articulate, communicate: The psychosocial reality of technology roadmapping and roadmaps


Published in R&D Management (2012, Vol. 42, No. 1)

Roadmapping has gained acceptance by technology management practitioners as a key tool in planning and strategy development. Technology roadmapping workshops are essentially a socially facilitated mechanism that solicits a diverse group of participants for their pool of experience and expertise in order to explore the opportunities and challenges facing an organisation. The group collaboration is captured through the generation of a roadmap which provides a visual representation of their collective cognitive efforts. It must therefore be acknowledged that the actual practice of roadmapping involves numerous complex underlying cognitive factors and social interactions. In this regard, an initial framework for the exploration of the psychological and sociological aspects involved in technology roadmapping and roadmaps is presented. The postulation is that roadmapping/roadmaps provide a mechanism/vehicle to cogitate, articulate and communicate.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9310.2011.00658.x


Addressing the cognitive and social influence inhibitors during the ideation stages of technology roadmapping workshops


Published in the International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (2012, Vol. 9, No. 6)

The front-end of a roadmapping workshop typically consists of a brainstorming activity. The premise of which is to capture and share as many ideas as possible - to induce cognitive stimulation - resulting in a greater overall group performance in terms of the number, variety and originality of ideas. However, workshops are subjected to underlying cognitive and social processes with their associated downsides for group interaction. They include: production blocking, evaluation apprehension, free riding/social loafing, low norm setting/matching. Facilitation actions and process adjustments to counter such negative factors have been identified so as to improve the running of roadmapping workshops.

DOI: 10.1142/S0219877012500460


Roadmapping as a responsive mode to government policy: A goal-orientated approach to realising a vision


Book chapter - Technology roadmapping for strategy and innovation: Charting the route to success (2013, Springer-Verlag)

Government policy documents such as white/command papers embody a country's future vision for its public services (e.g. defence, energy, health, transport). It is then the task of specific government departments/agencies to realise such visions through their strategic planning activities. To aid departments in their crafting of responses to newly issued policies, the use of roadmapping is proposed as a visual tool to facilitate the elicitation process of determining the most appropriate course of action. To demonstrate this goal-orientated approach, a case study based on the Australian Government's Defence White Paper and the Royal Australian Navy's fleet plan will be presented. The developed roadmap employed a new form of architecture, which consisted of a composite structure, in order to provide a logical decomposition of the government's future vision against the major projects to be conducted as the route to policy implementation. The process to populate the roadmap will be outlined together with a description of the roadmap canvas with its associated visual objects. It is hoped that the roadmap presented in this chapter will act as a graphical datum/prototype for utilising roadmapping in a responsive mode to policy directives.

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-33923-3_5


Selected papers on visualisation


Visualizing roadmaps: A design-driven approach


Published in Research-Technology Management (2015, Vol. 58, No. 4)

Because they are highly visual, roadmaps can be a strong enabler of communication between different stakeholder groups and across organizations. However, the visual design of roadmaps has been largely overlooked, with little attention given to their graphic design, undermining their value as communication tools. A design-driven approach to developing a roadmap template can help practitioners create a roadmap whose visual elements support their communication goals. The design process methodology begins by eliciting the key information that needs to be conveyed by the roadmap, so that content can be aligned to audience requirements. This distills a common voice and a set of consistent messages. The approach finishes with the design of tailored visual representations that can be used to present clear and meaningful narratives to specific stakeholders.

DOI: 10.5437/08956308X5804253


An exploration into the visual aspects of roadmaps: The views from a panel of experts


Published in the International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning (2017, Vol. 11, No. 3)

Roadmapping is an established and popular method for strategic planning. Its strength is often characterised in terms of the visual way in which it can embody future plans and present pathways to realising an organisation's vision. However, although a roadmap is a visual management tool, the visual aspects from a graphic design perspective have been largely overlooked. In order to explore this perspective, a panel of experts was brought together for a research workshop which consisted of a focus group activity and a visual critique. The focus group elicited the good vs bad visual features of roadmap visualisations. This was followed by a critique exercise where a sample set of representative roadmaps were examined in terms of their structural layout, graphical objects and population with content. These roadmaps were also empirically assessed (scored and ranked) to give an indication of their 'visual design goodness'.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTIP.2017.085512


Depicting the future strategic plans of the Royal Australian Navy using a roadmapping framework as a visual composite canvas


Published in Technology Analysis and Strategic Management (2014, Vol. 26, No. 1)

Strategic planning can be an arduous and complex task; and, once a plan has been devised, it is often quite a challenge to effectively communicate the principal missions and key priorities to the array of different stakeholders. The communication challenge can be addressed through the application of a clearly and concisely designed visualisation of the strategic plan - to that end, this paper proposes the use of a roadmapping framework to structure a visual canvas. The canvas provides a template in the form of a single composite visual output that essentially allows a 'plan-on-a-page' to be generated. Such a visual representation provides a high-level depiction of the future context, end-state capabilities and the system-wide transitions needed to realise the strategic vision. To demonstrate this approach, an illustrative case study based on the Australian Government's Defence White Paper and the Royal Australian Navy's fleet plan will be presented. The visual plan plots the in-service upgrades for addressing the capability shortfalls and gaps in the Navy's fleet as it transitions from its current configuration to its future end-state vision. It also provides a visualisation of project timings in terms of the decision gates (approval, service release) and specific phases (proposal, contract, delivery) together with how these projects are rated against the key performance indicators relating to the technology acquisition process and associated management activities.

DOI: 10.1080/09537325.2013.843663


Depicting options and investment appraisal information in roadmaps


Published in the International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (2012, Vol. 9, No. 3)

Roadmapping provides a visual canvas upon which a depiction of business strategy can be articulated and shared both within and between organizations. In this regard, roadmaps can be considered as boundary objects because they are used to forge the links between the differing stakeholders and communicate their shared viewpoints. Typically, the format of the roadmap is that of a skeletal structure consisting of a time-based axis against layers of functional perspectives (e.g., market, product, technology). However, in the later stages of the strategic planning and development activity, there is a need to clearly represent the options identified and embed the associated quantitative measures in the roadmap so as to provide greater assistance in the decision-making process. This is critical since options embody flexibility. From a program management perspective such flexibility is typically manifested through making decisions as to whether to defer, abandon, switch, expand/contract different project elements; for instance, choosing to terminate specific R&D, design or procurement activities. Such decisions are made upon evolving market, product and technology conditions. For example, customer needs, operational requirements, product functionalities and performance levels, technology availability and maturity. In order to visually represent options in terms of decision-point timing and size of investment, this paper presents an initial set of visual objects that could be overlaid on the canvas of a roadmap. To illustrate their use, a real-world case study is presented. A fully populated options-based roadmap, containing a set of alternative futures, is described. It is intended that this roadmap acts as a graphical prototype form for visually depicting options and associated investment appraisal information.

DOI: 10.1142/S0219877012500228


On 'self-facilitating' templates for technology and innovation strategy workshops


Published as a Centre for Technology Management working paper (CTM-WP-8)

Aligning technology and other functional perspectives for innovation and strategy is challenging. This is compounded by communication barriers arising from high levels of complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity associated with technologically intensive innovation. Conceptual frameworks, tools and methods such as roadmapping, portfolio matrices and scenario planning are used to support the management of technology and innovation activities. These often have a strong visual aspect that helps to address the issues of dialogue exchange and interaction. From a visualisation perspective, roadmapping is of particular interest given its prominence as a flexible method and highly visual tool. This paper focuses on the mediating role that structured roadmapping templates have during interactive strategy workshops. A quasi-experiment comparing the performance of two templates is reported, comparing a 'classic' format with a new template that was designed to be 'self-facilitating'. This new template incorporates guidance that a facilitator would normally provide, in order to minimise intervention and empower groups to organise their own strategic discussions. The new template is shown to perform significantly better in terms of completeness, consistency, quality and ease of use.

Download paper.


Selected papers on management toolkits


Roadmapping as a platform for developing management toolkits: A collaborative design approach with the LEGO Group


Presented at the 2017 Portland International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET 2017)

Roadmapping holds a unique position in industrially-relevant management tools: it can act as an integrative central hub to which other tools easily connect. Unfortunately, this type of application is generally not considered. Therefore, we are championing roadmapping as a platform for developing management toolkits. This positions roadmapping as a foundational building block when integrating a set of tools which are configured to address a range of corporate challenges and activities. To illustrate the premise of 'roadmapping as a toolkit platform' and provide a proof-of-concept, this paper will report on a collaborative research engagement between the University of Cambridge and the LEGO Group which prototyped a management toolkit underpinned by roadmapping.

DOI: 10.23919/PICMET.2017.8125436


A scalable toolkit platform: Configurations for deployment in technology and innovation strategy workshops


Presented at the 2015 R&D Management Conference

To enable the design and deployment of management toolkits, the conceptual foundation for a scalable toolkit platform has been developed with the necessary flexibility to respond to the breadth of tasks faced within the areas of strategic planning, technology and innovation management. The platform consists of three types of tool (i.e. roadmap, portfolio matrix, interlinked grid) operating at two different levels within a hierarchical definition of the organisational system being addressed. To demonstrate the use of the platform, a series of toolkit arrangements have been outlined for potential deployment in workshop-based engagements (whether they be consulting or corporate in-house applications). It is hoped that these will act as useful reference cases for practitioners and support further applications of the platform.

Paper available upon request.


Key principles for developing industrially relevant strategic technology management toolkits


Published in Technological Forecasting and Social Change (2013, Vol. 80, No. 6)

When considering the potential uptake and utilization of technology management tools by industry, it must be recognized that companies face the difficult challenges of selecting, adopting and integrating individual tools into a toolkit that must be implemented within their current organizational processes and systems. This situation is compounded by the lack of sound advice on integrating well-founded individual tools into a robust toolkit that has the necessary degree of flexibility such that they can be tailored for application to specific problems faced by individual organizations. As an initial stepping stone to offering a toolkit with empirically proven utility, this paper provides a conceptual foundation to the development of toolkits by outlining an underlying philosophical position based on observations from multiple research and commercial collaborations with industry. This stance is underpinned by a set of operationalized principles that can offer guidance to organizations when deciding upon the appropriate form, functions and features that should be embodied by any potential tool/toolkit. For example, a key objective of any tool is to aid decision-making and a core set of powerful, flexible, scaleable and modular tools should be sufficient to allow users to generate, explore, shape and implement possible solutions across a wide array of strategic issues. From our philosophical stance, the preferred mode of engagement is facilitated workshops with a participatory process that enables multiple perspectives and structures the conversation through visual representations in order to manage the cognitive load in the collaborative environment. The generic form of the tools should be configurable for the given context and utilized in a lightweight manner based on the premise of ‘start small and iterate fast’.

DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2012.09.006


Light-weighting innovation strategy: A roadmap-portfolio toolkit


Presented at the 2014 Portland International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET 2014)

The field of strategic technology management contains a number of practical tools to help align technology investment with business objectives and so support successful innovation. However the application of such tools is often seen by organizations as being difficult to configure, combine and also resource consuming to deploy. Thus, the research question is: can a light-weighted intuitive approach deliver valuable results in a short time and thus provide companies with a tested process that they would be more willing to apply? The aim of this research was to develop and test an efficient roadmap-portfolio toolkit approach for supporting the development and implementation of innovation strategy by selecting and exploring opportunities. Drawing on literature and practice, the workshop process was developed around structured templates and run in eight organizations (four small companies and four units of larger companies), with the approach refined using learning from each application. The roadmap-portfolio toolkit was robust and delivered valuable insights to the companies, many of whom plan to use or adapt it for themselves in further workshops. From a practical perspective, companies can obtain value from light-weighted interactions if framed correctly, however a single workshop does not create a whole innovation strategy. It has been demonstrated that efficient, pre-configured toolkits are highly useful and functional when packaged as a template-based workshop process to support, not replace, wider strategic discussions and decision-making.

Conference proceedings available at IEEE Xplore.


Towards a modular toolkit for strategic technology management


Published in the International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning (2012, Vol. 8, No. 2)

Many strategic technology management methods and tools have been proposed and deployed by academics and practitioners. Each approach, with its advantages and disadvantages, provides a particular perspective for supporting understanding, analysis, decision and action. Many approaches overlap in function, the interfaces with other methods are not clear, and many variants of tools are often available with little guidance provided for their application. As a step towards the construction of a flexible toolkit for supporting strategic technology management, this paper sets out a workshop–based approach that comprises functional modules that can be combined to address a range of management challenges.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTIP.2012.048475


A toolkit for the strategic planning of fleet transitions and upgrades in complex product-service systems


Presented at the 2011 International Conference on Manufacturing Research

This paper presents a toolkit for planning both the upgrading and eventual replacement of a fleet of complex product-service systems. The toolkit consists of five tools (concept mapping, capability visioning, roadmapping, project charting and attribute scoring) that are to be applied in an integrative manner to produce a single composite visual output. Such a visual representation provides a high-level depiction of the future context, end-state capabilities and the fleet-wide transitions needed to realise the strategic vision. A real-world case study based on the Royal Australian Navy is provided in order to demonstrate the practical application of the toolkit and the results that can be achieved.

Paper available upon request.


Selected papers on management tools


A framework for strategic military capabilities in defense transformation

Presented at the 2006 International Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium

For transformation to be an effective process, the defense industry must have a clear and common understanding of military capability.  However, capability is an abstract concept.  In order to make this concept more tangible effects-based operations, force structures and the lines of capability development have been integrated.  A conceptual framework is proposed for the mapping and visual representation of these strategic capability partitions.  The framework is formed of four concentric layers: i) building blocks, ii) functional packages, iii) effects and iv) influencers.  The building blocks of capability consist of lines of common facilities interwoven with the spectrum of strategic platforms.  Bonded onto the capability building blocks are the functional packages which represent the warfighting force structures together with the operational environment domains.  The next layer integrates the effects-based approach.  The fourth and final layer links these three views of military capability with the set of influencers, namely: policy, commitments, threats, scenarios and concept of operations.  The mapping of capabilities onto the framework then allows the stakeholders to develop their transformation roadmaps and synchronize the associated capability development plans.  To illustrate the application of the framework, a visual representation has been populated with case data for the United Kingdom.

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A strategic capabilities-based representation of the future British armed forces

Published in the International Journal of Intelligent Defence Support Systems (2008, Vol. 1, No. 1)

This paper presents a capabilities-based representation that provides a single picture of future military capability for the UK. The visual representation allows the different service branches of the armed forces to both explore and determine their degree of commonality and inter-service capabilities. To achieve this, a framework was developed to provide an architecture for visually representing strategic military capability. The framework is composed from three layers which combine effects-based operations, force structures and the building blocks (facilities and platforms). This framework was then populated with data from the UK's Ministry of Defence, British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIDSS.2008.020272



Mapping platform transformations

Book chapter - Complex engineering service systems: Concepts and research (2011, Springer-Verlag)

Technology insertion provides the means to proactively sustain and enhance the functionality and associated performance levels of legacy product platforms. It aims to deliver in-service technological innovations in response to the need for new capabilities that address emerging threats, obsolescence concerns and affordability issues. Platform modernisation via technology insertion is an interaction between the three principal stakeholders of end-user, acquisition authority and product-service system provider. To bring these three groups together for the vision setting and planning activities, a transformation mapping approach has been developed. It requires the participants to populate three visual templates that respectively map the future strategic context, the portfolio/fleet of complex product platforms and the key functional systems that generate utility. The adoption of this approach provides the ability to outline future capability requirements, determine product development options, and align these with the associated technology upgrade paths against the time dimension. To illustrate the implementation of the method, a case study from the defence industry is employed to depict the typical outputs that can be generated.

DOI: 10.1007/978-0-85729-189-9_20


Technology insertion in the defence industry: A primer

Published in the Journal of Engineering Manufacture (2008, Vol. 222, No. 8)

A key challenge for the defence industry is how to take full advantage of the latest research and technology developments for current in-service products. The route to managing the flow of technology for platform modernization and achieving the rapid fielding of new technologies for phased capability delivery can be obtained through technology insertion. However, there lacks a common understanding of the technology insertion activity. This paper provides a concise overview of the topic in order to provide a standard frame of reference. A generic definition of the term is proposed together with a taxonomy that places technology insertion into context with other technology management processes. In addition, the components and dimensions of technology insertion are presented. The fundamental principles and enablers associated with technology insertion are elicited. These concepts are illustrated by real-world examples from the defence industry.

DOI: 10.1243/09544054JEM1080


Inserting innovations in-service

Book chapter - Innovations in Defence Support Systems (2010, Springer-Verlag)

Military platforms have exceptionally long lifecycles and given the state of defense budgets there is a significant trend in sustaining the operational capability of legacy platforms for much greater periods than originally designed. In the context of through-life management, one of the key questions is how to manage the flow of technology for platform modernization during the in-service phase of the lifecycle? Inserting technological innovations in-service is achieved through technology insertion processes. Technology insertion is the pre-eminent activity for both maintaining and enhancing the functional capability of a platform especially given the likely changes in future military operations, the pace of change in technology and with the increasing focus on lifecycle cost reduction. This chapter provides an introduction to technology insertion together with an overview of the key issues that practitioners are faced with. As an aid to planning technology insertion projects, a decision-support framework is presented.

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-14084-6_2


Ranking maritime platform upgrade options

Published in the Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment (2010, Vol. 224, No. 1)

Naval combatants remain on active service for decades. This necessitates their functional enhancement in order to keep pace with the latest advances in technological developments and changes in future military threats. This paper introduces the activity of technology insertion by providing an overview of the past, current, and future upgrades of the DDG-51 class destroyer's combat system. Within technology insertion, there is the requirement for potential upgrade options to be analysed from a functional perspective. The upgrade matrix, based on the quality function deployment method, is proposed as a tool for such a task. This matrix functionally decomposes a platform's combat roles, principal systems and sensor-to-shooter loop. These functions are rated against capability gaps and user importance weightings. A set of options can then be assessed for their contribution to fulfilling the user's future needs. The result is the identification of the most appropriate upgrade options. The use of the upgrade matrix is demonstrated through an illustrative example which is conceptually based on the anti-air warfare elements of the Type 45 destroyer's combat system.

DOI: 10.1243/14750902JEME173


Selected papers on technology intelligence


A conceptual model for technology intelligence


Published in the International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning (2006, Vol. 2, No. 1)

Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to keep abreast of the latest technology developments and trends. Technology intelligence provides an organisation with the capability to capture and deliver information in order to develop an awareness of technology threats and opportunities. A conceptual model has been developed to support the establishment and operation of technology intelligence systems. The model consists of three tiers: (a) a framework level, (b) a system level, and (c) a process level. The 'framework' level maps the information requirements and knowledge gaps of the decision-makers to the business intelligence activities of an organisation. The 'system' level provides a mechanism to both tailor and configure a system architecture and its operational modes (mine, trawl, target, scan) to the actual intelligence needs. The 'process' level consists of an operating cycle for running a technology intelligence system. The cycle is composed of six phases, namely: coordinate, search, filter, analyse, document and disseminate.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTIP.2006.010511


Developing a technology intelligence strategy at Kodak European Research: Scan and target


Published in Research-Technology Management (2010, Vol. 53, No. 4)

Kodak European Research developed a strategy for technology intelligence based on a theoretical model developed by Kerr et al. (2006). Kodak scouts designed and implemented a four-step approach to identify relevant technologies and research centers across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The approach provides clear guidance for integrating web searches, scouting trips, networking and interactions with intermediaries. Kodak's example illustrates how companies can organize themselves to look outside corporate boundaries in search of technologies relevant for their business. The approach may be useful to those in other companies who have been asked to start a technology intelligence activity.

Paper available at Ingenta Connect.