A smart organisation is needed to excel in research and innovation at the lowest possible costs. It is a challenge to get an organisation smart. A research unit is a complex of people and facilities involved, irrespectively it is, a project team, a research department, a university, or a R&D company. DRS facilitates, scientists, managers, and CEOs, to translate their organisations in smart ones, taking into account the scale of it. Meanwhile we developed an own approach to getting a research organisation smart. We describe here the four essential parts of it.
We file precisely the needs of a client with respect to setting up, or improving, a research unit. We, subsequently, work out a tailor-made plan to execute the job. This plan is the basis of an agreement between client and DRS. The agreement is based on a fixed price always. DRS executed jobs of a price in the range of 2,000 up to 26,000 (ex VAT).
We check data available with respect to, staffing, facilities, legal aspects, and funding. This information is used to plan in-depth interviews with relevant staff members. We adopt a sample-based approach regarding large organisations. We structure the interviews by way of a tailor-made inventory. The interviews may be extended by way of auditing specific activities of a research unit. We developed several check-lists, which can be adapted with respect to a specific job. The resulting data of the screening is analysed. The results are, subsequently, reported anonymously to the client enabling respondents to communicate freely.
The report of the screening constitutes the basis of a concept of the new, or renewed, research unit. The concept takes into account all the aspects of, staffing, required facilities, funding, and legal acts. In addition, the proposed organisation needs to have sufficient adaptability to deal with events unforeseen.
We keep in mind a circle of excellent research drafting a research unit (see figure). Each study, project, passes this circle improving, or deteriorating, the research of a unit. We see some essential elements of excellent research. It all starts with creativity of the scientists, engineers. Organisations provide, in general, a stressful environment rather than one stimulating creativity of the staff. Each idea of research and innovation generated, subsequently, needs funding, internally or externally. Funding is, however, limited in the severe competition among researchers, universities, companies and so on. If funded, the research conducted needs to be reproducible. We have to cope with the threats of misconduct and sloppy science to execute reproducible research. If so, we arrive at excellent results. Such results are essential to build up state-of-the-art knowledge within an organisation. High-ranking staff is needed to keep this knowledge within the organisation. One may notice that the knowledge does not accumulate in researchers and engineers only. Knowledge of appropriate handling of facilities, tools, and data accumulates in staff like technicians and data stewards. Researchers and engineers need to be part of a complete team of professionals.
Finally, the concept of a new organisation is discussed with the client. Remarks and suggestions are used to finalise the concept. We may discuss the concept as well with the respondents of the screening, whenever appropriate.
DRS may serve as supervisor of implementing a new organisation of a research unit, or DRS takes care of the implementation itself. We have developed some standard tools to facilitate the implementation. In addition, DRS may offer some coaching and training of the staff involved.
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