R&D plans are also generated by business units. In essence, Motorola needs to create a billion dollar business every year in order to continue growing at the rate of 15 percent per year.
Research managers also generate ideas. "Minority reports," which outline ideas outside the official strategy, are an important technique. Iridium and cellular telephones both started as minority reports. Another technique utilized in starting a new business platform is to task a group with finding reasons that the new effort will not work, or factors that would essentially kill the project. If this group cannot come up with a good reason to kill the project, it is an encouraging sign.
Metrics and evaluation are also important. Motorola's most important measures at the company level are related to product sales. For example, the company's target for percentage of sales generated from products introduced in the last six years is 60 percent. This is not the case currently, but progress is being made. Cycle time from concept development to product release is also an important metric. A few years ago the company average was 36 months. Motorola's "10X Program" set the goal of becoming 10 times faster. The average is now seven months, reflecting significant progress. Metrics are also important at the individual and group levels, for example the number of patents per engineer. Motorola's current average is 1.5, with the goal being 2. Percentage of on-time completion of key milestones is another critical metric. If the company commits to sufficiently support a project to reach its key milestones, 80 percent should be reached on time.