Appendix B

Importance of Alignment Between an Organization’s Vision and Its People

At a National Research Council workshop on best practices in assessment of research and development organizations (a data-gathering workshop conducted under the auspices of the Panel for Review of Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations) on March 19, 2012, Dr. John Sommerer, Head, Space Sector, and Johns Hopkins University Gilman Scholar, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, highlighted the importance of assessing the alignment between an organization’s vision and its people. The following is taken from the summary of his presentation titled “Assessing R&D Organizations: Perspectives on a Venn Diagram,” provided in the NRC workshop summary.1

Alignment between an organization’s vision and its people is addressed by asking the following questions, and any assessment, even of technical quality, needs this context: Does the parent stakeholder have a strategy articulated with clear milestones so that it can be internalized by the organization? Does the organization have a supportive strategy? Is there a clearly articulated vision of what the parent/organization is trying to achieve according to some milestones? Are all of these elements in synchrony? Are these strategies mutually supportive and updated? Are they good or bad strategies? Within this alignment, is the organization looking for first-mover advantages or second-mover advantages? What developments does the organization consider important to capture?

Vision is addressed by asking the following questions: Does the organization know what it wants to become (in 1-, 5-, 10-year frameworks)? What expertise is it trying to achieve? Acknowledging that strategy is about what one is going to do and not do, where does the organization choose to be a leader as opposed to a follower of fast developments? Does the organization have expertise in areas in which it desires to be a leader, and less in areas in which it desires to be a follower? Are the synergies nurtured? Are there exit strategies? Are there realistic stretch goals? Are there sufficient resources? A vision without resources is a hallucination.

The component of people is addressed by the following considerations: Human capital is fundamental. Innovation requires free energy—that is, giving researchers some latitude and discretion in their work. There is no hope for the future of an organization without free energy. Peer reviews, which measure competence, have been well defined, but it is more difficult to measure motivation and external engagement. There is a need for external engagement globally in order to innovate. An assessment of human capital includes asking: Are the people in the organization trying to become better?

The intersection of people with alignment is addressed by the following questions: Do the people know the strategy of the organization and its parent? Are there mechanisms by which the people can contribute to the strategy? Can they interact with the organization’s customers? Are the leaders administrators or role models? What are their credentials and qualifications? Do they have a strategy to support the people? Does the organization assess and mentor the people? Does

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1 National Research Council, 2012. Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations—Summary of a Workshop. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.



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Appendix B Importance of Alignment Between an Organization's Vision and Its People At a National Research Council workshop on best practices in assessment of research and development organizations (a data-gathering workshop conducted under the auspices of the Panel for Review of Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations) on March 19, 2012, Dr. John Sommerer, Head, Space Sector, and Johns Hopkins University Gilman Scholar, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, highlighted the importance of assessing the alignment between an organization's vision and its people. The following is taken from the summary of his presentation titled "Assessing R&D Organizations: Perspectives on a Venn Diagram," provided in the NRC workshop summary.1 Alignment between an organization's vision and its people is addressed by asking the following questions, and any assessment, even of technical quality, needs this context: Does the parent stakeholder have a strategy articulated with clear milestones so that it can be internalized by the organization? Does the organization have a supportive strategy? Is there a clearly articulated vision of what the parent/organization is trying to achieve according to some milestones? Are all of these elements in synchrony? Are these strategies mutually supportive and updated? Are they good or bad strategies? Within this alignment, is the organization looking for first-mover advantages or second-mover advantages? What developments does the organization consider important to capture? Vision is addressed by asking the following questions: Does the organization know what it wants to become (in 1-, 5-, 10-year frameworks)? What expertise is it trying to achieve? Acknowledging that strategy is about what one is going to do and not do, where does the organization choose to be a leader as opposed to a follower of fast developments? Does the organization have expertise in areas in which it desires to be a leader, and less in areas in which it desires to be a follower? Are the synergies nurtured? Are there exit strategies? Are there realistic stretch goals? Are there sufficient resources? A vision without resources is a hallucination. The component of people is addressed by the following considerations: Human capital is fundamental. Innovation requires free energy--that is, giving researchers some latitude and discretion in their work. There is no hope for the future of an organization without free energy. Peer reviews, which measure competence, have been well defined, but it is more difficult to measure motivation and external engagement. There is a need for external engagement globally in order to innovate. An assessment of human capital includes asking: Are the people in the organization trying to become better? The intersection of people with alignment is addressed by the following questions: Do the people know the strategy of the organization and its parent? Are there mechanisms by which the people can contribute to the strategy? Can they interact with the organization's customers? Are the leaders administrators or role models? What are their credentials and qualifications? Do they have a strategy to support the people? Does the organization assess and mentor the people? Does 1 National Research Council, 2012. Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations-- Summary of a Workshop. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. 52

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the organization have the will to release people who should not be there? Does the organization have a strategy and the resources for engagement with the external world and for encouraging such engagement? Is innovation welcomed, supported, protected? External engagement must be focused on the broad global community. The intersection of vision with alignment is addressed by the following questions: Is there updating of the vision in response to changing external factors? Is there a process of self- assessment? Is there a list of lessons learned, and are they really learned, not just recorded? Is the self-assessment diligent, and does it have integrity? Is the assessment updated in acknowledgment of new strategies? There is need for both bottom-up and top-down assessment. The intersection of people with vision is addressed by the following questions: Do the people know the vision? Can the people contribute to the vision? Does the R&D organization have a strategy and appropriate resources for engagement with the larger technical community, the commercial sector, and the global community? Is innovation welcomed, supported, and protected? The intersection of vision, people, and alignment is addressed by examination of the organization's agility, flexibility, and adaptability in the face of changing pressures, budgets, and external contexts. This intersection needs to be consciously worked by staff and leadership, and it must be internalized. 53