Incentives: höhere Belohnung führt zu geringerer Performance?

Ohne viele Worte, hier ein Video von RSA Animate basierend auf einer Rede von Daniel H. Pink warum traditionelle Belohnungssysteme für die Wissensarbeit an ihre Grenzen stoßen: „[…] the people offered the top reward, they did worst of all […], 4:02“.

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Sven Schimpf

Blind Spot: Research on Researchers – What makes a successful R&D campus?

R&D campuses are usually built in stages, evolving over time in response to the present – or more often than not, past – requirements of institutes and companies seeking to develop their future ideas, services and products.

Financial constraints, short-term demands and delays in planning and construction make it difficult to integrate and thus take full advantage of the “golden triangle” of people, organization and space. But is this really the case? Planners of R&D environments and campuses may find it astonishing how little information there is available to support R&D facilities design from laboratories and buildings as such to larger environments like campuses. For example there seems to be very little or almost no existing research into researchers’ needs and R&D processes within a larger spatial context – information that could support the tailored gathering of user requirements for campus design projects. The closest thing to it is the work done by Thomas Allen and others to analyze communication behavior and the spatial correlation between communication and architecture – but while this information is certainly important, it only partially applies to R&D work spaces and even less so to campus design. To date, no literature or comparative studies have been published on R&D campus design.

So what makes a successful R&D campus? Our starting point was to look at how the R&D campuses of world-class universities and successful companies are designed, so we recently drew up a list of prime examples based on certain criteria. We collected examples from both the industrial and academic research communities, basing our selection on rankings such as the Forbes Global 2000 and Fortune 500 (industry) as well as ARWU and SIR World Report (academia). We filtered these rankings according to certain criteria that defined the kind of campus we were interested in. For example, academic campuses had to be polythematic, with at least 5 different scientific disciplines. Among the top scorers of those we filtered out were the campuses of companies such as Microsoft, Novartis and Gazprom, and academic institutions including the University of Cambridge, MIT, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Common design factors shared by the campuses listed above include:

  • two circulation systems that separate logistics from pedestrian traffic
  • centralization of services such as libraries, main cafeterias and administration departments
  • R&D buildings within walking distance (under 500 m) of central services
  • R&D buildings have on average four floors (incl. ground floor)
  • between 21 and 30 percent of the campus area is green and recreational space

Overall, these factors indicate that effective interaction and good access to amenities were design priorities. Of course, designing or re-designing campuses with the factors above in mind does not guarantee higher IP revenues or the awarding of a Nobel Prize, but it does demonstrate a somehow approved approach to campus design. It is also worth mentioning certain differences that exist between the campus designs, as these might be areas in which industry and academia can learn from one another. For example, whereas the average proportion of admin:research staff on academic campuses is 1:4, it is 1:20 on industrial R&D campuses. By contrast, the academic campuses provide more areas for sports with roughly 11 percent space compared to only 5 percent on industrial campuses.
The following link shows the development stages of a campus master plan that Fraunhofer IAO was involved in developing for an R&D institute in Riyadh, KSA. The design scheme follows the above-mentioned principles and includes a high degree of interaction and networking between different centers and functions on campus:


Jörg Castor (re-posted from

Creativity: a collaborative group effort or the result of a solitary struggle of individuals?

“We need great ideas!” – says the top management! That’s the simple goal of innovation often given as a guideline to the innovation manager of the company. The innovation manager then has the task to find good ways of stimulation idea creation. How can you do it? Read the following paragraphs to find out more!

Everybody knows (or assumes) that good ideas are based on creative work by a team mixed with well-educated professionals, and experienced staff from different disciplines. This could consist of the prolific sales guy, the “I’ve seen it all”-engineer and the strategic thinking business development manager. Every so often, it’s good to add someone who gives fresh input from out of the box. In German, there is the nice word “Querdenker” for such a person – a “cross thinker” who can take things into a different perspective. He or she adds new aspects, questions old rules which are taken as a premise, adds fresh ideas, and asks many “dumb questions” stirring the discussion and the creative process.

So let’s add all these guys together, put them into a room, add a few creativity methods and a discussion moderator. Let them brainstorm and discuss in the workshop – and out come many good ideas, right? You might even add some outsiders (customers, researchers, etc.) and call it “lead user workshop”. But how successful will this be to really create good ideas?

Let’s look at another perspective: Some people think that collaboration for creating new ideas is overstated. For instance, in an article in the New York Times, Susan Cain makes the point that “people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption.”  She cites a study by psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist and adds “the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted”. Isaac Newton and Steve Wozniak are presented as examples. Check out the article, a well written piece which combines the mentioned research results with historical evidence and a lot of common sense.

So does that mean brainstorming sessions and innovation workshops are useless? Should we all shut our doors, spend hours in confinement while seeking a genius solution to our current problem?

Practical experience from an industrial company

Let’s have a look at reality and practical application and some observations from my work as an innovation practitioner in the last few years: From my experience, the search for good new ideas should always start with a well-defined problem and a good innovation team to find and elaborate on ideas: see above!

In the literature and the lectures at university, the problems one might deal with are often colorful topics, which are fun to work on. Unfortunately, in a practical setting, the situation is often different and much less exciting. There is a current problem bothering the company, which is hard to tackle and a solution is urgently needed.  The question might be something very specific such as “How could a cleaning device be built to pre-clean parts before coating them?” with a long lists of technical conditions coming along. And yes, the competitors have found good solutions before you, there are a couple patents around blocking some approaches, there might a special technical competency missing in the team, and after all, you don’t have much money available for the required R&D activities. That’s all “very motivating” to begin with.

Anyway, the conventional way in many industrial companies to tackle this problem would be to assemble a team, give them a short advance note (such as a phone call or an email) and then get them together an innovation workshop. The team you have assembled has agreed to work on this for a day, and you send them some material to prepare themselves (the problem, some background, the customer requirements, what has been done in the past, etc.). Everybody gets together, but many didn’t have time to prepare themselves for the event. The discussion is structured and some creativity methods are used to support the process.  Fair enough! In addition to that, I would recommend to use these elements:

  • Present some basic insights on how your customers solve the problem now, and what the competitors offer.
  • Look at the basic principles of the problem (why do we need a clean part? How does cleaning work in general?) and question existing approaches to look at the broader picture (we might not have to clean, if there’s no dirt around in the first place).
  • Look at basic technical solution principles for the problem – no matter if it was applied in your industry sector yet.
  • Bring in some market and technology trends to “spice up” the discussion.
  • Create a positive atmosphere and assure a constructive discussion: Try to soothe participants who are discussing too aggressively and make sure everybody can contribute.

These elements do help to make the idea workshop productive – which means you can get a lot of ideas, of which some should be good – and new.

Individual creativity to support group creativity

Now, with what we have learned from the mentioned research from psychology, I would add the following recommendations:

Take the time to prepare the participants personally in one-on-one meetings on the objective of the workshop and about the problem that has to be addressed. Try to get them to work on the problem individually for at least a couple hours before everybody gets together.

Let’s face it: You can sure motivate people to look for “everything that makes our products better” in an idea workshop. But without good preparation of the participants, you’re going to get a lot of ideas missing the point. The people bringing in these ideas have a reason why they think their ideas are important, and should be given a thoughtful feedback (which should contribute to their motivation). But honestly, this needs some of your time and effort, which can be better spent. So do your homework and invest some time to prepare the workshop well and make sure participants will do the same.

Claus Lang-Koetz

Arbeitsumgebungen für Forschung und Entwicklung

Wie schon im Beitrag »Designing spatial solutions for future R&D« beschrieben, stellt die Gestaltung der Arbeitsumgebung in der Forschung und Entwicklung einen wesentlichen Erfolgfaktor für die Optimierung von Abläufen und die Motivation von Mitarbeitern dar. Dieser Erfolgsfaktor wurde nun in der explorativen Studie »FuE-Arbeitsumgebungen 2015+« untersucht.

Neben der Vorstellung verschiedener Raummodule enthält die Studie einen Überblick über Schlüsselfaktoren, Trends und Einflussfaktoren zur Gestaltung von FuE-Arbeitsumgebungen sowie ein Vorgehensmodell zur systematischen Planung und Realisierung von FuE-Arbeitswelten.

Die Studie »FuE-Arbeitsumgebungen 2015+« im Printformat ist auf Nachfrage  kostenlos erhältlich.

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Designing spatial solutions for future R&D

Arbeitsplätze können Arbeitsabläufe, Kommunikation und die Motivation von Mitarbeitern erheblich beeinflussen, das ist soweit keine besonders neue Erkenntnis. In der Forschung und Entwicklung, in der Mitarbeiter einen wesentlichen Einfluß auf die Produktivität und damit die Qualität, terminliche Abstimmung und die Kosten haben, kann die „richtige“ Gestaltung des Arbeitsplatzes sowohl die Effizienz als auch die Effektivität steigern und Unternehmen für Mitarbeiter und Außenstehende attraktiv machen. Bleibt nur noch die Frage wie das gehen soll…

Wenn es um die Gestaltung des Arbeitsplatzes geht erscheinen immer wieder die gleichen Unternehmen auf der Bildfläche die als beispielhaft für eine besonders innovative Gestaltung der Arbeitsumgebung gelten. Eine schöne Übersicht gibt das Buch „I Wish I Worked There“ von Will Knight und Edward Denison. Neben Google tauchen hier auch Lego, Nike und Virgin auf. Für Anregungen und neue Ideen wird hier einiges geboten, die Frage welche Arbeitsumgebungen für welche Tätigkeiten am besten geeignet sind bleibt jedoch weitgehend offen.

Im Rahmen eines Fraunhofer internen Forschungsprojektes zu diesem Thema haben wir im Herbst 2010 daher einen internationalen Workshop mit Teilnehmern verschiedenster Disziplinen durchgeführt. Eine Übersicht mit Beiträgen der Vortragenden ist nun in der Veröffentlichung „R&D Workspace 2015+“ beschrieben und mit den damals entstandenen Zeichnungen untermalt. Unter anderem werden hier das Innovationzentrum des Unternehmens Freudenberg beschrieben, das Konzept der Future Centers dargestellt und in Frage gestellt ob die Gestaltung von „Innovationsräumen“ überhaupt Vorteile bringt:

Zum kostenlosen Download ist die Veröffentlichung auf dem Fraunhofer ePrint-Server verfügbar.

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Karriere- und Anreizsysteme für die Forschung und Entwicklung

Aus welcher Ausgangslage heraus werden Karrieresysteme in der Forschung und Entwicklung gestartet? Wie wird dabei vorgegangen? Wie sind die Systeme aufgebaut? Und welche flankierenden Maßnahmen lassen sich finden, beispielsweise zur Wissensweitergabe zwischen erfahrenen Fachkräften und jungen Potenzialträgern?

Zukunftsperspektiven und Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten stellen in der Forschung und Entwicklung einen wesentlichen Faktor zur Mitarbeitermotivation dar. Ausserdem stellt die klare Ausrichtung von Karriere- und Anreizsystemen ein wichtiges Entscheidungsmerkmal bei der Wahl des zukünftigen Arbeitsplatzes dar. Immer mehr Unternehmen bauen daher unternehmensweite „Standards“ aus um gezielt auf Anforderungen der Forschung und Entwicklung einzugehen.

Die Studie „Karriere- und Anreizsysteme für die Forschung und Entwicklung“ des Fraunhofer IAO bietet einen detaillierten Einblick in die Praxis unterschiedlicher Unternehmenskonzepte. Auf Basis einer Studie mit fast 200 teilnehmenden Unternehmen sowie 9 detailliert beschriebenen Fallbeispielen (u.a. Lufthansa, Wittenstein, IDEO und IBM) wird nicht nur eine allgemeine Empfehlung gegeben sondern gezeigt wie Unternehmen aus verschiedenen Branchen ihre Karriere- und Anreizsysteme für die Forschung und Entwicklung aufgebaut und gestaltet haben.

Die Studie kann zum Preis von 50,- € im Fraunhofer IAO Shop erworben werden.

Liza Wohlfart
Nobelstraße 12, 70569 Stuttgart
Telefon +49 711 970-5310

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Sven Schimpf