Keywords: strategic networks, collaboration, cooperation, benchmarking, R&, D maturity, QMM, innovation quality, research and development, business strategy, product strategy, technology strategy, quality management, Finland, maturity models, innovation management
Benchmarking of quality and maturity of innovation activities in a networked environment
The strategic importance of organisations working together for innovation activities will be emphasised even more in the future. Continuous improvement of the effectiveness of collaboration requires an adequate and comprehensive assessment and measurement system between the organisations. The present method, quality and maturity method QMM, for measuring the quality and maturity of innovation and R&D, examines the issue from six viewpoints: R&D as part of business strategy; R&D as part of product and technology strategy; strategic implementation of R&D; R&D as a business section; R&D outputs; implementation of R&D projects. The theoretical background of the QMM method is in quality and maturity theories. During the 11 QMM cases that have been carried out by the beginning of year 2003, considerable amount of data has been stored in a QMM Database. This data contains 1,146 responses from 44 response groups or individual responses. There are both qualitative and quantitative data entries in the database. In this paper, we will mainly focus on the presentation of the whole database, general assessment procedure of one case company, a two-level benchmarking analysis of another case company and finally, a networking analysis of six case companies. The intention of the qualitative analysis here is principally to get a good glimpse of common trends between companies: which viewpoints are most mature, which least mature? Where have opinions dispersed most? This also enables an individual company to reflect their own findings to the situation in QMM cases in general. Thus, the mutual understanding of the companies will increase and collaboration will improve.