Roadmapping: The T-Plan Approach to Identifying and Exploring Strategic, Innovation and Business Opportunities

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Roadmapping: The T-Plan Approach to Identifying and Exploring Strategic, Innovation and Business Opportunities

Technology roadmapping has become one of the world's most widely used approaches for supporting innovation and strategy. First developed by Motorola more than 25 years ago, the roadmapping approach has been adopted and adapted, as roadmaps support the development, alignment and communication of company-level strategic plans. Cutter Fellow, Dr. Robert Phaal will help your enterprise learn how to use this powerful, structured framework approach to address three key questions every organization must continuously consider: Where do we want to go? Where are we now? How can we get there?

Roadmaps provide a unifying structure and focus throughout the strategic planning and innovation processes. To overcome a common stumbling block organizations often encounter when applying roadmapping, Dr. Phaal, and his colleagues at the Centre for Technology Management at the University of Cambridge (UK), developed the S-Plan approach to creating roadmaps, which supports identifying and exploring strategic, innovation, and business opportunities.

Dr. Rob Phaal will work with your organization to tailor the S-Plan method to its specific needs and its business context, and help your organization understand how to use roadmaps at the front end of strategy and innovation to support identification and exploration of opportunities and then later to develop and implement strategic plans. In addition, you'll realize important organizational benefits from this approach, including improved communication and consensus-based decisionmaking; team building and network development; greater support for strategy and innovation processes; more customized roadmapping; a strengthened interface between corporate research and business units; and better prioritization of investments.

The stages of the S-Plan process are focused around multifunctional workshops, including:

1. Planning meeting. Issues relating to customizing the S-Plan are used as a checklist to support the planning activity, which is a collaborative design process.

2. A workshop comprising four elements:

  • Develop a strategic landscape, based on presentations and brainstorming activity, using the roadmap template. The goal is to share and capture as many perspectives as possible across a broad scope, as well as to identify key strategic issues that impact the organization.
  • Identify and prioritize strategic opportunities, using the strategic landscape as a resource and to provide context.
  • Explore priority opportunities, using the roadmap template as a common structure.
  • Review opportunities and agree on future actions, and identify key learning points (about the organization and roadmapping process).

3. Review meeting. After the workshop, together with Dr. Phaal, you'll review your progress to ensure that the actions and learning points are taken forward.

A principal benefit of the S-Plan approach is the communication that is engendered, both during the workshop and afterwards, using roadmaps as a common reference point and as language to support the ongoing dialogue that is essential for effective innovation and strategy development and implementation.

The hands-on nature of the S-Plan process enables your group to takes responsibility for building a common visual representation of its strategic context, issues, goals, and plans.

Note: The S-Plan Approach to Identifying and Exploring Strategic, Innovation and Business Opportunities is typically a precursor to embarking on the T-Plan