There are two factors that should always be taken into account to ensure a well-organized approach to activities related to research projects. Understanding these aspects will be your first step towards a successful interaction with the research community:
Defining your strategy
The strategy should set the general aims and expectations in addition to the approach towards the integration of research and standardization. Developing the strategy will entail establishing concrete objectives and developing a plan to achieve them. Naturally, the strategy should be aligned with the overall strategy of your NSB/NC.
Main aspects to consider are:
- Define the vision of your strategy
Base your strategy on both an internal analysis of your organization and an external analysis of your environment, to establish a realistic and practical vision of what can be achieved. Once the internal and external analyses have been completed, you will have enough information to decide to what extent you want to be involved in research and what activities you want to develop.
- Establish objectives to develop your strategy
The next step in your strategy-building process should be to establish concrete objectives. These can be specific tasks, actions or activities that will help you achieve the aims of your strategy. However, these objectives should be realistic, achievable and, as far as possible, measurable and verifiable through relevant performance indicators.
- Gain commitment to your strategy
To support any decision to work together with researchers, you will need to commit time and resources. Your top management will need to support and recognize the work as being part of the everyday activities of your NSB/NC.
In order to implement your strategy you need to establish a suitable organizational structure by allocating the necessary resources and communicating the new activities and approaches internally.
- Human resources
It is desirable to have staff members dedicated to innovation and research, with adequate knowledge, training and/or experience, and with well-defined responsibilities for developing activities, fulfilling objectives and coordinating interaction with the research community.
- Financial resources
The costs of preparing project proposals will imply dedicated staff time as part of their role. However, participation in research projects is usually externally funded, so a large financial contribution on your part may not be necessary. It is important to pay close attention to the funding conditions of the programmes, to know which project costs will be covered and which will not.
To avoid conflicting messages, lack of coordination and lost opportunities, a fluid and meaningful internal information flow within your organization will be essential.
Your colleagues in standardization should be informed, trained and involved, and will also need to know who is responsible for the research and innovation related activities within your organization.
Furthermore, it is also important to ensure that other departments, units or positions in your organization are aware of any research and innovation related activities. As such, they can understand and support you, ensuring the existence of useful contacts.