Comprehensive Process Improvement Methodology: Experiences by David Paper, Steve Dickinson

By David Paper, Steve Dickinson

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Many recent shareholders’ meetings have had tense moments as a result of pointed questioning concerning the remuneration package of top management. For the first time in the UK, shareholders voted against raising the remuneration package of the CEO of the large pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, on 19 May 2003. Such a vote was extremely narrow, but one may wonder whether this is a precursor of more rebellions in the future. Companies’ annual reports are beginning to give information on these items.

True, the motivation of technical knowledge workers largely comes from being involved in a challenging project. For them, however, the salary level is a very close second motivating factor. In order to reward the innovators who contribute to the business success of their employer, large technology companies are increasingly giving bonuses. The days have gone when the author of a patent was grateful to receive a symbolic dollar bill or an engraved watch on the occasion of an inventors’ ceremony when the patent was granted.

Such a smooth, integrated process is sometimes called ‘seamless’. In such projects, staff from R&D, marketing, and manufacturing, drawing on expertise in design, financial management and patents, work together in an integrated and organic way. This diversity of skills and experiences is placed under the leadership of a project manager, who will progress the innovation to the market. An example of such project organization is the Dutch photocopier maker Océ which for the two to three years required for the development of a new photocopying machine assemble a team of 40 to 50 members who report to a project leader.

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