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Hot Intersections: Using the Matrix to Decide What’s Hot and What’s Not

Recently, a client’s Regional Chief Scientific Officer pointed up the importance of the interface between a particular Research Program and the Economic Function/Discipline in his organization. Color that interface red and make it large! By way of programmatic and budgetary justification, the first-blush cost-benefit analysis of this Research Program doesn’t present all that well because of the relatively small annual dollar volume of the industry to which it relates. However, when the value of the Research Program is considered by way of how it extends to an adjacent industry and also to adjacent Research Programs, a powerful and persuasive cost-benefit analysis will likely emerge—a striking analysis that can shake and shift the paradigm, telling a different story altogether.

Such analysis does not happen by accident; it must be made a matrix-managed priority and caused to happen. It happens when the executive clarifies strategic intent that is grasped both horizontally and vertically in the matrix organization, and then follows-up with inspection and consequences as surely as night follows day. In this spirit, our CSO announced that the intersection of the Research Program with the Economists is “hot.” From his vantage point, he expects to see increased traffic around the core issues at that node. He has made it plain that he will not approve a plan that fails to evidence productive collaboration between the Research Program Lead Scientist and the economists. He has every reason to expect success.

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