Many university-industry collaborations seek a way to jointly map out their future. They need a way to align the needs of the industrial partner with the technology offering of the academic researcher so that both parties can see the big picture. Roadmapping is one such way – and on 30th April Nicky Athanassopoulou took a Collaboration Skills Initiative workshop through the principles and practice of roadmapping.
Roadmapping also shows how the needs and drivers from the market pull through the functions and features of the products and services of the industrial partner. This can then be coupled with the “push” from the technology offerings from research. By showing this on a single map it becomes possible to iterate towards a shared vision of the future, soundly based in today’s reality and negotiated collectively.
As an exercise, the workshop participants developed a roadmap for a “mobility vehicle” for the future, creating a vision for a future product and exploring how to integrate innovative technologies to it. This opened up a variety of approaches and technologies from fuel cells and light, cheap composite materials all the way to nuclear electricity generation!
The exercise illustrated how market drivers can inform product developments which in turn can inform technology priorities. With the priorities clearly in focus then academics can better integrate their research into collaborations with industry. Roadmapping also enables researchers to illustrate how their offerings might develop or even transform a product offering. Developed collaboratively, roadmapping can help both academics and industry develop a common view and understanding of pertinent issues and preferred solutions.
The EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account has some resources to fund roadmapping workshops (available on a first come first served basis), so if you’re interested, contact Claire Higgett to explore the options (www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/rso/iaa/contact/).