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29 ODOT recently conducted a project to develop a strategic communications to deliver the message to the audience, communications plan for its research office that supports ODOT's overall mission and goals, obtains feedback from whether it is a technical road show by a circuit rider, a train- selected ODOT constituents, and develops a communications ing course for local maintenance employees, a video confer- template for use by other DOTs. The study was based on 12 ence for state DOT employees, or a showcase for an area's comprehensive internal surveys and surveys of primary exter- nal constituents in academia, FHWA, contractors, county engi- transportation community. Refer to Appendix D for the var- neers associations, Ohio legislators, Ohio residents, and other ious forms of communication and outreach mechanisms used state DOTs. The surveying purpose was to: by LTAP/TTAP centers. Assess knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding the ODOT Research Office. Develop recommendations to better inform and thereby Benefits of Technology--Meeting Users' Needs better serve constituents. Discover communications mechanisms used nation- In addition to the techniques and methods used to accomplish wide. technology transfer, there is one essential success factor that Increase awareness of research through efficient two- way communications (Knott 2004). should not be overlooked--the benefits of the technology to be transferred. Supplying what the user needs, when the user 3M Company Communications and Internal Technology needs it, in a form that can be used, at a cost that is reason- Transfer able is a compelling success factor. Many of the survey respondents indicated that benefits of the innovation or the The following Technology Application Note is based on a tele- phone interview with a 3M representative and an interview technology to be transferred were a significant success booster. with Dr. Judith Benham, Technical Director of the 3M Pack- They reported that: aging Systems Division, as reported in the University of Wis- consinMadison School of Business Fall/Winter 2000 newslet- ter, Manufacturing and Technology Matters. 3M is committed "The innovation was cost-effective." to promoting excellent communications among its technical "The project involved cost savings and was an environ- employees and has formal structures for facilitating such com- mentally friendly solution to a common problem." munications. One of its renowned functions is its Technology Forum, established in 1951 to "encourage free and active "We saved money." interchange of information and the cross-fertilization of ideas." "The project involved an accurate identification of (See http://www.3m.com/us/about3M/innovation/firsts.jhtml.) needs." Each technical employee is a member of the Technical Forum "This was a safety project that we expect will reduce and is able to designate areas of interest for participation. The accidents, which is a top priority of the DOT." Technical Forum is organized into chapters similar to profes- "The project involved the bicycle community and sional technical societies. Chapters can be established when a core of interested employees can be organized. Chapters demonstrated an effort to address concerns." meet on a regular basis and sponsor speakers and other tech- nical knowledge events. Among the objectives of the Techni- cal Forum is to foster communications among the variety of EVALUATING SUCCESSFUL technical disciplines TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER In addition, communications among 3M technical employees also occurs through symposia conducted during the year, Both state DOTs and LTAP/TTAP centers were asked whether where researchers present papers or posters on their work. they applied methods of performance measurement to the Furthermore, 3M conducts the Annual Event, which is an inter- technology transfer projects. Questions regarding evaluation nal technical trade show. For example, up to one-half of a major division's knowledge workers participate annually. Indi- were asked about general practices and then about a specific viduals present new technologies in their respective area that technology transfer or implementation effort (see Table 4). may lead to new product opportunities. Technical employees from throughout 3M can wander among the booths, talk indi- vidually with the researchers involved in the technology, and Both state DOTs and LTAP/TTAP centers use perfor- discuss how the technology might be applied. mance measures, but they were not seen as necessary crite- ria for success. If performance measures were used, however, LTAP/TTAP centers possess considerable communica- they were considered a success factor. The respondents to the tions expertise. LTAP/TTAP centers consider communica- surveys also identified the types of performance measures that tions to be a lifeline to their operations. The basis of tech- were used. The LTAP/TTAP centers used surveys, feedback nology transfer for these centers is to use some form of forms from participants, follow-up visits for determining TABLE 4 USE OF METHODS FOR MEASURING PERFORMANCE Used Measures for Performance-- Used Measures for Performance-- Group General Practice Specific Successful Project State DOT 16 yes 20 no 18 yes 18 no LTAP/TTAP 17 yes 5 no 13 yes 9 no