colleagues from multiple locations to discuss common interests and issues, share solutions, and build relationships that facilitate future cooperation. Customers and suppliers are often invited to speak to and to interact with the participants. In addition, 1- to 3-day workshops are conducted with fewer attendees and a more focused technical scope, addressing a topic of strategic or competitive interest to a program, a product line, or the company as a whole. Workshops culminate with the development of recommendations for Raytheon’s approach to the selected topic. Each TIG hosts informative seminars to cover a spectrum of special-interest topics from new technologies and processes to new tools and supplier products, either available internally or elsewhere in industry.
Raytheon’s robust technology networking infrastructure provides a conduit for temporary alignment among people with diverse interests, roles, and responsibilities. When they return to their own locales and work areas, that information is redistributed even further among the workforce—speeding communication, increasing technology reuse, and ultimately delivering greater value to the customer. In addition, this example illustrates that technology can be conceptualized and advanced only to a certain point within one segment of an organization. Once it is opened to the larger organization for debate, evaluation, and validation through peer reviews or gate reviews, the technology is subject to even greater and more rapid opportunities for advancement, as well as successful implementation into a larger variety of applications.
A single example speaks to the power of this kind of networking in a large organization and the direct benefit that accrues to both the business and the customer. A particular product line was about to deliver a command-and-control facility to a customer; in the process of checking to see that all of the requirements had been met, it was discovered that a particular capability had not been certified, and the program chief engineer was uncertain how it should be done. An urgent e-mail was sent out to the appropriate technology network asking for domain experts in this particular topic area. Within 24 hours, six experts had been identified across the company, one of whom was located at the site in need of the help. The appropriate testing and certification were quickly completed, and the facility was delivered on time and in full compliance to a happy customer.
This communication and dissemination example, in which technology developers collaborate effectively to advance the organization’s objectives, would have applicability and value to the science and technology efforts of the Air Force.
Several common threads run through the success stories outlined in this chapter. They include the following: the willingness to accept a good “80 percent solution” in months rather than a perfect answer years in the future; an objective