Services

Opportunity Analysis

As the standard first step for a new client, the aim of opportunity analysis is to establish the current status, the potential for the organisation, and an appropriate change plan to connect the two. The lead consultant, (Denise Goldsworthy unless agreed otherwise) will work with the client to develop an agreed approach to understand the most fertile opportunities to challenge the status-quo for an organisation. The process may include interviews, workshops, review/audit and internal/external surveys to create an understanding of where the organisation is today, where the organisation could be, and the potential processes that could support moving the organisation towards the new vision. Specific processes that may be incorporated into the assessment include scenario planning; risk / opportunity identification; stakeholder mapping; customer and employee surveys; marketing and brand strategy development workshops and technology portfolio reviews. If the client already has a skeleton strategy for change, we will work with them to build the detailed steps for implementation and help to make it happen. We are conscious of the tight economic drivers for our clients, and will therefore build plans that are the most cost effective solution to their situation, including making recommendations that the client can self-manage with minimal support where appropriate.

Support for Researchers Engaging Industry

Research by its very nature has no guarantees, much to the frustration of many financial decision makers in industry who are looking for guaranteed, low-risk returns.

Failure to achieve impact from a new product or research is more likely to be the result of a failure in the connection/translation into the business environment than in the completion of the scientific endeavour1. This can occur at two key places in the project lifecycle – at the beginning, when needs, assumptions and boundaries of the problem are identified; or at the end, when implementation of the results is being attempted. While commercialisation as a process brings difficulties, in many cases the root cause of the failure to achieve industry impact, has been providing the right solution to the wrong question, and therefore achieving quality engagement to get an understanding of what needs to be improved right at the start of the research process is the single key step to success.
1 “Best Practice for Industry University Collaboration”, J.A.Pertuze et al, MIT Sloan Manadement Review, Summer 2010

The Alternate Futures Standard Engagement Training Model
AF has developed a number of core models which we use to increase the level of understanding, and hence the effectiveness of engagement of research organisations with industry partners. These are at the heart of a 2-day training course aimed at early to mid-career researchers. The core models are complemented with additional inter-personal and communication skills to enable participants to confidently and effectively apply the AF models to the planning, processes and decisions they need to make as researchers.

For research organisations wanting to introduce the concepts or to identify who are the right individuals who would benefit from further training, shorter programs or keynote presentations are also available.

Systems Improvement and Culture Change
Only innovative solutions that truly pragmatically address business and societal issues will create value. To achieve solutions that can be successfully implemented requires a fundamental shared understanding between both groups by bridging the gaps in knowledge, language, systems and culture between the problem owners and problem solvers. Success in bridging this gap requires researchers to master a range of interpersonal skills to promote trust and to enable education of the other parties, as well as skills with systems to enable flexibility in the design and negotiation phases to provide an appropriate bespoke solution to each situation.

AF can assist research organisations to close these gaps by implementing system improvement processes to align project negotiation and governance processes with industry critical success objectives. AF can also assist with culture change processes to promote inclusive and cross-disciplinary approaches to industry engagement.

Support for Industry Engaging researchers

Research can be a relatively low risk, highly successful means of differentiating your organisation to ensure global competitiveness. Success requires the organisation to be open to capture and deploy the knowledge acquired through research collaborations, all underpinned by strong leadership.

AF can assist industry with any or all of the following key steps.

  • Establish challenging research goals aligned to core strategy.
  • Prioritise research opportunities.
  • Organise systems, culture and resources to successfully manage and implement research.
  • Design appropriate research partnerships
  • Select the best research partner.
  • Prepare for commercial negotiations

AF can either facilitate these steps, educating and building capability within your business along the journey, or actively project manage key tasks where there are major skills gaps.

For innovative suppliers, we can also work with you through a process that combines marketing, risk management and stakeholder management tools to help you increase engagement and sales for conservative customers.

Mentoring and Executive Support

An effective leader in an organisation that must be both a discoverer and a deliverer of value requires exceptional skills and the flexibility and persistence to overcome many challenges while finding the right balance. We provide mentoring, coaching and other forms of executive and team support to ensure they can be successful. Our consultants have varied backgrounds in organisational and leadership development, work across many management levels as well as professional disciplines, and across cultures as well as across both the public and private sector.

Standard mentoring packages and leadership workshops are available, as well as tailored packages that may be combined with other change initiatives to ensure the team is capable of sustaining and growing the benefits of the changes arising from other projects.

services

Alternate futures can design the process best suited to each client, including offering from this range of services

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Consultants

Our consultants are an experienced team who share common values about improving the performance of Australian research and industry to the benefit of the Australian community

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About us

Alternate Futures is a unique consultancy offering services to successfully connect research and new technology to each other and to industry

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