The Smart Organization: Creating Value Through Strategic R&D. David Matheson, Jim Matheson. Harvard Business Press.

The Smart Organization: Creating Value Through Strategic R&D Book Cover The Smart Organization: Creating Value Through Strategic R&D
David Matheson, Jim Matheson
Harvard Business Press
October 1, 1997

Here is an experience-rich book on how companies can create value by becoming “smart organizations.” Based on research and consulting engagements with the world’s largest R&D-intensive companies, it reveals how senior managers can dramatically improve the return on their companies’ investment in R&D and technology.

The Smart Organization brings new perspective to management decision-making throughout the organization. It identifies the key practices that enable successful organizations to deliver a string of winning products and services. Smart organizations, say the Mathesons, have internalized nine interlocking principles essential in creating corporate cultures that emphasize making the right strategic decisions at the right time. They use best practices to support these decisions and sustain their success. These principles – among them, embracing uncertainty, disciplined decision-making, and value creation culture – enable companies to make appropriate choices about their R&D planning, portfolio management, and product strategies.

Drawing on the experiences of R&D-intensive organizations all over the globe, the authors illustrate the book with best practice examples from companies like Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Merck, Procter & Gamble, DuPont, Monsanto, and AT&T. They stress the importance of evaluating trade-offs, investigating alternatives, and getting buy-in across functions to ensure that decisions will be viable for both the technological and managerial perspective. They show how managers can apply these methods more broadly to create a smart organization. The Mathesons clearly demonstrate that changing the decision-making process is an efficient means of reforming culture and improving not just R&D but overall company performance.

A father and son consulting and research team, Jim and David Matheson are recognized authorities on the role of strategic decision-making in creating full value from R&D and product development. Jim, a world-recognized authority on the application of decision analysis, is a founder of Strategic Decisions Group (SDG), a leading international consulting firm. David, an SDG principal, led the groundbreaking research that identified the best practices and the nine principles of the smart organization.