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Suggested Citation:"Intraprogram Coordination." National Research Council. 1994. Learning From Japan: Improving Knowledge of Japanese Technology Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18453.
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Suggested Citation:"Intraprogram Coordination." National Research Council. 1994. Learning From Japan: Improving Knowledge of Japanese Technology Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18453.
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Page 36
Suggested Citation:"Intraprogram Coordination." National Research Council. 1994. Learning From Japan: Improving Knowledge of Japanese Technology Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18453.
×
Page 37
Suggested Citation:"Intraprogram Coordination." National Research Council. 1994. Learning From Japan: Improving Knowledge of Japanese Technology Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18453.
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Page 38

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Intraprogram Coordination To institutionalize a national program of U.S.-Japan industry and technology management training will require effective coordination and dissemination across the individual university programs. The need for coordination applies to nearly every aspect of the grant programs—coordination among the university programs, developing effective interplay among the various departments or elements of each program, coordination between the programs and other programs with similar objectives, and ensuring a fit between the legislation that created the programs and the long-term needs of the country. Dissemination involves getting the knowledge or the trained people to where they are needed for the purpose of achieving the objectives of the legislation. In view of the limitations on resources, coordination and dissemination efforts are essential to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, to create synergies and shared resources, and to establish a long-term national effort. The committee can envision a variety of approaches to strengthen the level of coordination and cooperation across the individual university programs and thereby enhance the effectiveness and accomplishments of the overall program. Some of these approaches, such as greater coordination of intern placements and coordination of more-diverse research efforts, have already been mentioned. These are short-term issues that could strengthen the program as it exists now. Another, longer-term opportunity that should be explored is creating a strong network to share intellectual resources, for instance by emphasizing telecasts of seminars and special lectures to all the programs and to other industry and university locations. The NTU already does this, as do some of the other programs. The following section describes possible networking approaches that the AFOSR and the individual programs should consider in their future plans. SHORT-TERM COORDINATION ISSUES In addition to the coordination of intern placements and general outreach in Japan, there is an obvious need to strengthen coordination in the United States among the programs. Each university program offers a different set of elements relevant to the overall goals of the legislation that established the national program. Considerable overlap of expertise may exist; complementarity can be enhanced through better coordination and sharing of resources. Opportunities to expand the range of research activities to cover a 35

36 Learning from Japan broader set of industries have already been discussed. Other ways to build coordination may include activities such as joint planning of seminars, study missions to Japan, and curricula design, as well as joint dissemination activities for a particular audience such as the Washington policy community. To achieve maximum impact, efficient dissemination of program results, including debriefings of participants who have spent time in Japan and distribution of reports, is essential; coordinating this dissemination across all the funded programs needs more attention. In a very real sense, the development of J/TIM as a field depends on deepened interaction among researchers who can build on each other's work and share work in progress. Another area in which broad coordination is desirable is in setting standards for the level of expertise expected of different types of participants in the program. Two issues have already been addressed: implementing some type of standard examination for language proficiency examination and developing a set of core courses for the J/TIM curriculum. Curriculum development also needs to include appropriate cultural instruction, in a context that relates to both specific J/TIM practices and knowledge of the total Japanese business system as described in Chapter 1. The committee is not recommending a rigid approach to curriculum standards, but the program directors and involved faculty should jointly develop a set of expectations of what program participants should know and how they should learn it. Other areas in which coordination should be strengthened might rely more on computer- based networking and teleconferencing. Language training and J/TIM courses could be shared to take advantage of particular strengths at different universities and to implement a core J/TIM curriculum more rapidly. Data bases of current and proposed research projects and research results could be maintained across the system, helping to minimize research duplication and facilitating cross-industry comparisons of findings. A similar effort could be instituted to track internships and document intern experiences, to facilitate career- long networking of program participants, and to maintain a central electronic file of faculty site-visit trip reports. The MIT Japan Program is developing three data bases using AFOSR funds, a "Japan-Aware Professional Data Base," a "Japan Science and Technology Experts Data Base," and a "Japan Trip Report Data Base"; these efforts could be expanded, new data bases created, and the information shared across all of the programs. LONG-TERM NETWORK OPPORTUNITIES With rapid improvements in computer-based networks and teleconferencing technologies, the committee can envision a system of AFOSR-funded centers that share resources and experiences not only with each other but with other schools that have expertise to contribute. Once the funded universities were linked in a way that shared information and intellectual resources—lectures, courses, and teaching modules, for instance—new opportunities to pull in other resources and students could be explored. One approach might be to build on the experience of the University of Wisconsin/EAGLE/NTU program to use video technology to reach a large audience around the country. NTU could provide the infrastructure for pursuing this distance learning approach, and each of the individual

Intraprogram Coordination 37 programs could provide the course content. If integrated with a local program of instruction, this type of approach can provide quality instruction modules. A major challenge for this network approach, however, is the establishment of some interaction among the students and faculty and the improvement of coherence in curricula. Creative techniques are now being used in Japanese language training to enhance student-faculty interaction and communication. One way in which network programs have attempted to enhance interaction is by organizing short-term study missions to Japan. Another mechanism for enhancing interaction is internships in Japan supervised by faculty. Another approach might be to pool the resources of an entire university system to provide more-effective instruction than any single school could offer independently. One campus may have an excellent language training program, while another has premier faculty research in an area such as Japanese manufacturing management. By drawing these resources into the overall network, great strides could be made in establishing a national J/TIM program. In particular, if students can receive credit for instruction at other universities in the system and if there is a central coordination point shared by all of the universities, this broader network could yield wide synergies. One advantage might be in outreach efforts, because the industry contacts and interaction maintained by different university campuses would be drawn into the network, thereby helping marketing efforts, industry access, and dissemination. Yet, another approach to building input and access to a national J/TIM system would share J/TIM resources with a greater number of organizations. Rather than limiting participation to the students of a particular university, of a university system, or of universities in the network, this approach would be designed to provide opportunities for unaffiliated students and organizations to participate. The shared approach would, in theory, overcome the insular tendencies of universities, for instance in recruiting participants, and would help to link the AFOSR program with other emerging efforts to support U.S. industry. A goal might be, for example, to recruit participants from polytechnic colleges, women's colleges, and historically black colleges and universities. Another goal might be to raise participation of smaller companies dramatically. Ongoing liaisons and collaborations with such institutions would deepen and strengthen the J/TIM program by including students and companies who normally would not have access to such resources but who, arguably, are best placed to implement the J/TIM practices. This shared approach could also provide a mechanism to link the J/TIM program with various federal and state industrial extension programs, such as the manufacturing technology centers. SUMMARY The creation of a new program, particularly one as complex and ambitious as the U.S.-Japan Industry and Technology Management Training Program, presents tremendous challenges but also marvelous opportunities. The universities funded by AFOSR bring individual strengths that all contribute to the national goal of strengthening U.S. understanding of Japanese technology management practices and technology developments. Explicit efforts to combine and coordinate these individual strengths could dramatically raise

38 Learning from Japan the impact and value of the total program. Coordination would expand the breadth of research being conducted in Japan, speed the dissemination of research results, broaden the audience, make the placement of interns in Japan more effective and valuable, and enhance the visibility and credibility of the total program in the eyes of its customers in industry, government laboratories, and even academia. Though some coordination among the programs has taken place, the long-term advantages of a well-coordinated national program have yet to be realized. The committee recognizes how difficult it will be to achieve the broad-based, strong coordination needed to fulfill the program's promise. Rivalries among universities, traditional academic independence in both research and instruction, and concerns about financial commitments will all pose barriers for creating a national J/TIM system. Certainly some of the more mechanical areas of coordination, such as joint conference sponsorship and perhaps even intern placement, will be relatively easy to achieve. The more visionary aspects, however, such as computer networking, teleconferencing, course sharing, and broad inclusion of a variety of academic and nonacademic organizations, will require both strong central leadership from AFOSR and patience. The first steps will be to generate discussion among the program directors and begin to identify mechanisms to achieve the needed coordination. The committee hopes that this report will foster those first steps.

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The U.S.-Japan Industry and Technology Management Training Program provides the opportunity for U.S. academics to broaden and deepen their understanding of the multifaceted sources of Japanese industrial success and to convey that understanding to practitioners in U.S. industry and government laboratories. After reviewing the program's progress, Learning From Japan: Improving Knowledge of Japanese Technology Management Practices concludes that a multidisciplinary approach to research, education, and training must be used, and an aggressive effort must be made to disseminate the results to industry. Building a multidisciplinary specialization would provide a framework for research, publications, curriculum development, and continuing education activities. Yet, making this specialization as relevant and useful as possible would require input from industry, and industry must, in turn, be convinced of the value of the program. Learning From Japan recommends that achieving these twin goals--creating a strong academic specialization and ensuring its relevance to the needs of U.S. industry--should guide the future management of the program.

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