Why do so many British government projects fail?
Foresight in the public interest demands that governments invest in the development of technology, innovation, research and the development of entrepreneurship so the nation’s competitive advantage can be maintained and economic prosperity sustained. It is in response to such considerations that governments around the world and especially in the developed world have invested in the development of innovative technologies such as the Concorde Supersonic Transport Aircraft, the Fifth Generation Computer program, the development of High Speed Magnetic Levitation Vehicles and the HDTV project.
The purpose of all these programs is to take exceptional risks which the private industry in the country is unwilling or unable to take and maintain the competitive advantage of the nation by disseminating the results of such projects to the nation’s industry. Foresight demands that the preparation for the technological and industrial future of the nations be considered at least a decade back so that the results of such strategic planning can bring fruits for the future. The British government, like other governments, has tried to sustain innovation and the development of new technologies which are likely to be of benefit to the British industry. However, several of such efforts have come under severe public criticism as being commercial failures.
The Concorde project which was undertaken in collaboration with France never sold the three hundred planes which were required to be sold in order to recoup the investment made and the recent E-University project is also regarded as being a commercial failure. However, such commercial failures have not just been experienced in the United Kingdom and similar attempts have been made to sustain innovation in many other countries. It is, nevertheless, important to enquire if such attempts to sustain innovation can be managed better and this is what is discussed in this dissertation.
The government of the United Kingdom has from time to time been criticised with regard to its handling of innovative projects which the government had undertaken in the national interest to foster and fuel innovation. A few examples of such projects that come to mind include the project for the development of the Concorde Supersonic Transport Aircraft and the relatively recent E-University project (Garrett, 2004, Pp 4 - 6). Critics have levelled allegations of mishandling, poor management, waste of public funds and incompetence in relation to some of the projects that were supported by the British government and yet there are many other projects which involved government support through its agencies which have been successful. Examples of the projects which can be considered to have been a success include the Euro fighter Typhoon, Airbus A400M air lifter, the NH 90 and Agusta Westland Merlin helicopters and the Meteor missile. A few other projects which have been the result of joint collaborations include the Harrier II and the US Joint Strike Fighter (Trischler, 2004, Pp 3 - 20). Most of the projects that have been criticized as being failures were at the leading edge of technology and involved risks which no commercial organization was prepared to accept. Yet it was felt that the government support of some of the high technology projects was necessary in order to provide opportunities for learning and innovation to British organizations. The criticism which has been leveled at the government is mostly criticism related to the projects being commercial failures as they were not able to deliver the returns which would have justified the expenditure that was incurred on such projects. Nearly all projects with large price tags do have something to show after the funds have been provided. However, the art of successful high technology project management requires that some lasting commercial gains are able to be recouped from investments (Ling, 2002, Pp 5 - 6). After all, it is alleged that the high technology industries of the United States of America and its relevant government agencies are able to produce the most sophisticated and the best high - technology products which are perceived to be of benefit from a commercial point of view as well as being useful. The Concorde Supersonic Aircraft (Concordesst.com, 2005, 1)
Successful high - technology management requires that the project managers support creative thinking and innovation. It is also expected that the project is able to produce something of a concrete value such as new knowledge, new technologies or a technological processes. To top this, the project is also expected to produce adequate returns from the investments that have been made from the sale of the innovations which the project has produced (Tidd, 2005, Pp 1 - 25). The Concorde Supersonic Transport Aircraft project which was a joint Anglo - French undertaking has been described as being a technological triumph, but a commercial disaster. The Concorde supersonic transport aircraft project was plagued with huge developmental costs and the main reason why it was declared to be a commercial disaster was because of its unexpectedly high cost of fuel to fly the aircraft and the denial of being granted authorization to fly the aircraft at supersonic speeds on land. Hence, the massive development effort did manage to produce an aircraft which was able to carry passengers at speeds in excess of Mach 2, but the aircraft could only be flown over the sea, between London and Paris to New York in America and only at subsonic speeds over land. The whole developmental project was struck with constant cost escalations and delays. The collaborative effort between Britain and France as well as between the industries of the two countries was nothing less then being exceedingly complex. The germ of the Concorde idea was born with the inception of the Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee (STAC), which was established on November 5, 1956. This committee included representatives from the British government, the British industry associated with aircraft and engine manufacturers and the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, England. It was felt that the United Kingdom could benefit from the development of leading edge aviation technology in order to maintain a competitive advantage in aviation technology. Because of the huge risks involved and the massive expenditure as well the possible benefits that could be reaped from such an undertaking, the French government also expressed an interest in collaborating with Britain on the supersonic aircraft project (Feldman, 1985, Chapters 1 - 2). In 1962, the French President, Charles De Gaulle requested that Britain and France collaborate in the project for the development of the supersonic aircraft. The French and British Aviation Ministers subsequently signed a draft treaty which required both the countries to contribute equally to the development of the supersonic aircraft and to share the proceeds of the sales of such an aircraft equally. The distribution of work on the aircraft between France and Britain was by itself a rather complicated affair. Four British and French companies were selected as being the main development contractors. The British Aircraft Corporation (Britain) and Sud Aviation (France) were responsible for building the airframe and Bristol Siddeley (Britain) and SNECMA (France), were delegated with the responsibility for the development of the Olympus 593 jet engines which were to propel the aircraft at supersonic speeds that were significantly faster then that of sound. Nearly 40% of the aircraft's airframe was to be built in Britain and 60% of the airframe was to be built in France. Britain had a greater responsibility for the development of the aircraft's jet engine then France. Such a complex undertaking involving the aircraft industries of the two countries in an age when the internet had not fully evolved was by itself a real challenge with regard to coordination, sharing of expertise and collaborating over such a distance. A prototype of the supersonic aircraft, Concorde - 001 was finally rolled out on December 11, 1967, a period of eleven years after the establishment of the Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee (STAC). The British aircraft which was also to be called the Concorde - 002, made a debut at the Hanover Air Show on 22nd and 23rd April 1972, a period of five years after the rollout of the first prototype. A total of twelve years of effort and expenditure had gone into the production of this supersonic passenger airliner and the worst was to come in the form of the public outcry that was to be heard, criticizing the management of the Concorde project by the British government. The gain from such a colossal expenditure was being questioned to such an extent that the British government was to back away from any high risk innovative projects for many years to come. However, it may be felt by some that such an outcry was perhaps unjustified because the Concorde project did produce the technology for sustained supersonic flight and provided knowledge and expertise for British industry in relation to advanced aircraft design, which had not existed before. There was, after all, a final working product. This technology for sustained supersonic flight had not existed prior to the commencement of the Concorde project and it is most certain that the lessons learnt from the development of the Concorde supersonic aircraft will have been applied to many military aircraft designs as well as the design of missiles for the air force and into the technology for the Airbus. Hence, it is very likely that the Concorde project was a ploy by a democratic government to try and justify the expenditure of public funds in a democracy in order to generate new knowledge related to the design of advanced aircrafts. Perhaps, the design of a smaller military supersonic aircraft would not have been as challenging and informative as the design of a large civilian passenger aircraft, but the technology for such an aircraft also had to be developed. The design of a smaller fighter would not have added anything of value to the design of larger airframe aircrafts which were required to be flown at supersonic speeds. On the other hand, a large supersonic aircraft design which was required to fulfill the civilian safety requirements could provide insights into very many other aviation designs (Feldman, 1985, Chapters 1 - 2).
It is, after all, the responsibility of a government to invest on innovation, science and technology in order to open up new frontiers of knowledge which are likely to be of benefit to the country and its citizens. Developed nations and advanced Western democracies can only expect to maintain their competitive advantage and economic supremacy if they are able to develop technologies which are not available to humanity. Risks are inherent in all projects and the riskiest projects are the ones which attempt to develop new technologies that are so revolutionary as compared to what already exists that it is difficult to predict the costs involved and the timeframe for completion. Creativity cannot be forced or given a deadline. All projects, even those which are rather mundane and consist of using already existing technologies to manufacture or design a product are exposed to a variety of risks including technical risks, economic risks, social risks, production risks, financial risks and human risks. The job of professional project managers is to get the job done, watch out and minimize risks and get the job done within specifications and within the allocated time frame. However, research and the creation of new technology from basic science is something which is difficult to fit into a precise project time table and the project budget (Tidd, 2005, Pp 18 - 35). It is precisely these kinds of gambles that are likely to produce the most useful innovations for humanity and the spin offs of such undertakings are likely to influence many other technologies. The dollars spent on space research in the United States of America and the huge budgets allocated to maintain the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) cannot be justified in terms of the commercial rates of returns on investment. On the level of nations, money is after all an indicator of the effort that the national government and the nation as a whole are willing to allocate to certain areas of national interest. It is in the national interest of the United States of America to maintain a level of enquiry into the technologies of space because it is such research that is likely to provide constant benefit to the United States industry by acting as an engine for innovation and the development of new technologies. It was felt by the British and the French governments that the development of aviation technologies which had not been researched by other nations may just provide an impetuous for British industry and pay dividends in the long run. Only governments will have had the will to take on such risks in the national interest. British government has also invested in other projects such as the E-University project which promised to bring something revolutionary to the British public and the private sector organizations. Joint ventures had also been entered into with other nations for the development of nuclear reactor technology and the Horizon naval warship development program in collaboration with France and Italy. Britain, however, withdrew from the Horizon project because of "unfocussed management and the high price of the warship" (Hartley, 2004, Pp 1 - 5).
The management of innovation and also the management of high technology projects have been very much refined as human knowledge and experience in relation to the management of such innovations or projects has accumulated. Literature abounds with treatises on the application of project management theory to the management of research projects. Many debates have been conducted and reports published on how to get value for money spent on scientific research (Morris, 2004, Pp 2 - 6). Much has also been written on high - technology entrepreneurship and the role of public policy in stimulating such entrepreneurship. The British government has also been concerned about realizing the economic potential of publicly funded research. Risk management in relation to projects has also been investigated by many researchers and the success of high - technology projects can now be forecasted with a higher level of certainty using tools and techniques which have evolved over time as a result of investigations into the management of projects. It is, therefore, worthwhile and interesting to investigate the management of projects in general and the high - technology projects in particular at the governmental level in the United Kingdom so that any lessons which may be available can be learnt. A literature review of the available and relevant literature may yield insights and important themes that can be significant in shedding some light into what may be lacking in the management of British government high technology projects.
This dissertation has attempted to conduct a literature review and analysis of published literature related to project management theory and the management of British government projects with a view to studying important themes related to the reasons for project failures that are to be found in the published literature. The next section of the dissertation presents the methodology for a literature review and this is followed by the literature review itself, which is then followed by a discussion of the findings. It was felt that the literature review was the only method which could possibly produce some meaningful results in relation to the research question, because even those who have been intimately associated with the management of high - technology projects and projects in general on commission from the British government are likely to present only their own points of views or experiences. It is likely that the experiences, observations and opinions of the many will very likely provide the right answers to the research question.
Methodology As has been mentioned in the previous section, a systematic literature review holds the best possible solution to being able to discover why so many British government projects are mismanaged. The broad aims of conducting a systematic literature review for project management practices associated with the management of high - technology projects are firstly to discover and describe relevant approaches to these management tools which have been developed in schools of management, engineering, administration, computer science and economics as well as other fields and their actual as well as possible application to the management practices associated with the management of high - technology projects by the British government. It is also important to gain an understanding of the context in which project management theory can be applied to the management of projects along with the results of actual experimentations in real life. Evidence which is available from reputed publications, journals, articles and web sources needs to be considered and evaluated on the basis of what has been reported as well as any exciting results or outcomes. Sources which have been selected on the basis of their merit as well as relevance must then be carefully studied and important themes have to be filtered out of the published material in order to conduct a discussion of the nature of evidence in the field related to the better management of high - technology projects and the management of project risks related to government funded projects as well as trying to enhance the quality of project outcomes in the interest of the public whose funds have been utilised to fund the projects. Because a lot of research has been conducted on ways to improve the management of projects in the United Kingdom and the results of such experimentation is well recorded with inputs not only from eminent professionals from the United Kingdom, but also from the Commonwealth and the English speaking world, therefore, it is important that the results of such experimentation be considered. However, experiments and experiences which have been generated in other parts of the world such as those in Australia, Canada and the United States of America also provide many useful insights and leading edge results for developments in many frontiers. Hence, it is appropriate to take a look at any useful insights which may have been reported in the publications of these countries so that a comparison may be made with the situation which exists in the United Kingdom with possible applications and enhancements to the management of high - technology projects and projects related to innovation in the United Kingdom. It is expected that the insights that are to be gained from such a systematic review will be of use to the engineering, scientific and technology professionals in general and to the project managers / administrators as well as policymakers in particular. Such insights can not only be of benefit when applied to the management of high - technology / innovation projects in the United Kingdom, but can also benefit nearly all innovation management efforts around the world if due considerations are given to the local situations and limitations. Many enhancements in management are possible. However, the study of project management theory and attempts to enhance the quality of innovation management outcomes through the application of project management theory concepts and the techniques which have been developed and presented in literature are sufficiently broad as well as interesting areas of investigation to limit the scope of the literature to these project management techniques (Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, 2005, Pp 1).
For an adequate level of understanding and appreciation for the impact of the techniques for project management and analysis efforts in the management of innovation to be possible, both qualitative as well as quantitative studies and results need to be examined along with the principles of project management, especially the management of projects associated with research and innovation. Currently, there are two traditions of research which have developed along with their terminology, methods and techniques and these traditions have been referred to by different researchers with different names such as qualitative or quantitative traditions in research, humanistic and scientific traditions or the positivist and phenomenological traditions of research. The differing names refer to the same distinctions in the processes of conducting research. On the one hand, the qualitative tradition consists of case study methods, ethnography and historical as well as action research and on the other hand we have the quantitative tradition that consists of methodologies such as survey research, experimental and quasi-experimental research as well as research after the occurrence of a factual event (Collins, 1999, Chapters 1 - 3) and (Marshall, 1999, Chapters 1 - 2).
It is possible to express facts as objective reality which can be expressed as quantities. This forms the basis of the positivist tradition of research which is quantitative research and relies on numbers, measurements, and experiments to derive numerical relationships under conditions of controlled behaviour that can be manipulated. The phenomenological tradition attempts to describe and understand reality which is set in perceptions with narrative and observations being used to focus on understanding and meaning to yield knowledge and understanding (Collins, 1999, Chapters 1 - 3) and (Marshall, 1999, Chapters 1 - 2).
Generalisation of situations and settings, understanding of events and why they occur as well as predictions are some of the results of the research process. There is a difference between explanation and understanding that develops as a result of seeing things happen, after reasons have been fitted into patterns and deductions can be made from other known truths. There is a requirement for elements being investigated to be related to other elements and the overall picture forms into a unified model with the unification forming the explanation. Thus, there is an explanation for something when it can be understood. Understanding requires the use of rich descriptions and formation of relationships between different parts. This fitting together of things is what is known as the pattern model and the understanding of patterns is the result of research of a qualitative tradition. Thus, this form of research is aided by review of literature. In the quantitative method of research, the more basic facts or laws are used to determine what is to be explained and a deductive model is constructed (Collins, 1999, Chapters 1 - 3) and (Marshall, 1999, Chapters 1 - 2).
There is a distinction between prediction and generalisation. It is not possible to deduce an unknown part of a pattern from a known part and, therefore, the symmetry of prediction and deduction uses the deductive model. In some areas, generalisations tend to be complex with there being a great deal of conflict and scrutiny (Collins, 1999, Chapters 1 - 3) and (Marshall, 1999, Chapters 1 - 2).
Qualitative research is, therefore, more appropriate for the development of complex interrelationships in the more natural or real life situations with a possibility of using this methodology of research to test theories which have already been developed. The qualitative and quantitative methods of research work together and quantitative research can be used to further test theories which have been developed using qualitative research and qualitative research can be used to further explain the results of quantitative investigations. Qualitative methods are, therefore, useful for rich descriptions of issues being studied with hopes of achieving better understandings with predictions not being the main aim and generalisations taking the form of natural generalisation. Hence, the qualitative research methodology that was adopted to study the ingredients of project management theory being applied to the management of projects for innovation and research is in fact the appropriate one with further investigations on specific ingredients being possible using the quantitative methodology of research. The quantitative methodology can, therefore, be used as a basis for further investigations in future work (Collins, 1999, Chapters 1 - 3) and (Marshall, 1999, Chapters 1 - 2).
In an attempt to fond suitable sources for reference from published material related to the applications of project management theory to the management of projects associated with innovation and high technology as well as the views of managers and eminent researchers who have produced material of relevance to the management of British government projects, extensive searches were conducted for the material from British libraries using the COPAC library search engine (www.copac.ac.uk). Publications as well as journals which had an association with project management, management, public policy for innovation and the management of science as well as technology were searched and a bibliography of the relevant material was created. Publications related to the application of project management theory and the implications of modern project management techniques for the management of United Kingdom innovation and technology projects were also searched using the COPAC library search engine. The results obtained from the search engine were then examined manually to determine what publications may be of value for the research question of this dissertation. The search focused on attempts to find suitable publications in the British libraries which had been published in at least the last five years. The results of these search has been included in the bibliography / references included with this dissertation.
Apart from the searches conducted using the COPAC library search engine, internet searches were also conducted for articles, research papers, literature reviews and thesis which had been written in relation to project management cases and techniques in innovation, the management of research and implications of these management techniques to the publicly funded projects of the United Kingdom government. Up to five key words were used in order to try and access the internet documents which could be of use in the systematic literature review. Key citations from articles of interest which could be of use in the literature review were also used to find further material in computerised data bases as well as the internet. As was the practise for conducting library searches, attempts were made to focus on suitable material which had been added in at least the last five years. Some other computerised databases which were queried included the ScienceDirect database, Kluwer Journals Online database, Agile Project Management Online Resource Centre as well as Business Source Premier and IEEE Xplore databases. Google search for thesis, dissertations and research papers related to explaining the failure of British government projects in innovation or technology were of importance in accessing research work which had been conducted at institutions of higher education and universities. Thesis and dissertations which have been previously written at the higher education level can be effective in being able to provide an understanding of issues as well as providing unique insights along with acting as pointers to other important and relevant sources of information related to the subject. The indexes of some relevant and learned journals such as the Project Management Journal, International Journal of Project Management, Journal of the International Cost Engineering Council and Management Science are important in being able to get to relevant information for the literature review of the dissertation. A problem with some of the journals, however, is that a subscription is required for access to the material and hence this has been a problem with accessing literature from these sources (Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, 2005, Pp 1).
With such a large number of published sources, it is important to be able to select the most appropriate and relevant material for inclusion in the systematic literature review. The selection criteria and, therefore, the selection of material searched should follow logically from the relationship of the material to the management of projects related to innovation, high - technology, research and British government managed projects. The criterion for selection was first applied to the abstracts and citations of the material searched and based on this criteria, it was decided if a detailed look at the full text of the material was warranted. It is also important to assess the quality of a study or published material which is related to the topic of the systematic literature review so that as far as possible, only the best and the most appropriate material is included in the systematic literature review. Criteria associated with the broad aims for conducting the systematic literature review is important along with the qualifications and reputation of the author. Material published in authoritative journals, by authoritative authors or organisations and material which is relatively recent is more important then other sources which may not be able to meet the criteria for inclusion in the systematic literature review as closely (Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, 2005, Pp 1).
After the selection of the material which was considered to be important enough for inclusion in the systematic literature review, it was considered appropriate to review this material and extract the important themes, results or conclusions which are presented. The importance of the conclusions or themes presented in the material, the size and validity of the study along with any explanations of importance which may have been presented are important and worthy of mention in the literature review. An attempt was made to mix qualitative studies with quantitative studies of importance, especially if the quantitative studies or material was highlighting the qualitative material. As far as possible, an attempt was made to ensure that the material for inclusion in the systematic literature was rather mixed, presenting the theoretical ideas associated with project management theory as well as measures of performance for projects, risk minimisation, techniques for the management of high tech projects etc (Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, 2005, Pp 1).
After having discussed the methodology behind the systematic literature review, its aims and the nature of research methodologies, it is now appropriate to consider the results of the efforts which were made to review the relevant material selected. These results are presented in the next section.
Literature Review Management literature has emphasised on the use of foresight as a national policy making tool. It is stated that governments now have an innovation policy unlike the situation that existed about fifty years ago when politicians concentrated on allocating public funds to science and technology research, without bothering about innovation and what technologies existed in the society. It was felt that the private sector firms were quite capable of generating innovation as required as a result of market competition amongst these firms. However, the emergence of global competition as a result of globalisation meant that industry alone was incapable of coping because an important limit of globalisation has been the spatial mobility of knowledge. Hence, governments have to have a public innovations policy to ensure that the right technology is available to the national industry so that the country can remain internationally competitive and in a position to sustain its economy. Foresight requires that action to develop such technologies be taken at least ten years prior to the requirement for such technologies. Projects such as the Concorde, the Fifth Generation Computer Program in Japan, or the Airbus and the HDTV programs in Europe have been described as state interventions based on foresight to develop technologies prior to these technologies being required so that the national industry can remain competitive (Nyiri, 2004, Pp 3 - 30). However, it is not foresight but the management of projects to develop technologies that is of interest in this dissertation. It is asserted in literature that although the efforts of the British government to promote entrepreneurial activities in the high technology sector of the country by using the United States public policies as a guide have been successful, it has not been possible to give birth to firms in the United Kingdom which have grown into major international enterprises as models of some high - technology start ups like Apple in the United States. It has been stated in this regard that this is not a fault of the British government and that there is a requirement for the private sector to take initiatives and the risks. It has been mentioned in the literature that the British government invests heavily in science and technology and it is the duty of the government to ensure that the heavy investment results in the maximum benefits in the form of jobs and prosperity for the nation. It is further stated that public funds should be spent after properly assessing the risks involved and ensuring that these investments are capable of generating the right technologies which are likely to be of benefit to the nation. Taking on projects which involve radical innovation instead of incremental innovation and systems level innovation as opposed to component level innovation carry more risks. However, it is the high - risk projects that have a potential to provide innovation across a wide range of industries. Radical innovations involving systems built out of many components will most likely result in many component level innovation efforts. However, there is a market dimension to innovation and before trying to innovate on a systems level, it is important to ensure that the market value of such an effort or the spin offs from such efforts be carefully considered (Ling, 2004, Pp 6 - 16). Had the British government decided to invest so heavily in a futuristic super computer project instead of the Concorde, will the results and the reaction from the public have been any different? Despite the huge funds which have been poured into the IBM Blue Gene project, not many of these computers have been sold as yet, even though a great deal has been learnt about the design of new generation supercomputers. Perhaps there is something lacking in the support which the British government is able to provide to entrepreneurs to assist in transforming technology into practical products which sell. The question that needs to be asked in relation to the Concorde project is that can the Concorde project be judged to be a failure when the United Kingdom has been able to maintain its position as the second largest supplier of defence equipment in the world? There was no technological innovation which had the capability for cutting across so many technologies and improving their capabilities as the innovation of a supersonic airplane. It is important to be able to analyse the ruptures of a technology as a result of efforts to initiate innovation as distinct from incremental improvements in technology. It is important that governments must clearly define the market and business opportunities that are associated with taking on an innovation project. When governments have strongly supported the development of a national technology, it is also important to subsidise the development of the technology with regard to scale economies and development of exports so that the initial investment can be recouped. Risks and opportunities have to be defined with realism and it is important that those partners taking part in the development of innovative technology be assisted / pushed to incorporate this technology in other products with a market potential. Hence along with there being a requirement to carefully consider public policy in relation to research and innovation, there is also a requirement to examine public policy in relation to the assistance of entrepreneurship. An innovation project like the Concorde must also be accepted by institutions and politics as an option for transportation policy, however, in the case of the Concorde, there was nothing much that could have been done to reduce the impact of the sonic boom produced by the aircraft as it travelled at supersonic speeds, because this was not the limitation of technology, but rather the result of the aircraft travelling at speeds that were faster then the speed of sound (De -Tieliere, 2002, Pp 251 - 281). It is important that lessons learnt from expenditure of public funds be made available to national industry so that it can benefit from the expenditure of these funds. The Concorde project had a very complex project management structure with two governments and four companies making decisions by consensus across the Atlantic, often working through interpreters. However, the involvement of these two governments was essential because neither could commit sufficient resources to take on the project single handed. It was felt by both the governments that innovation of new technology was necessary for the industry of the two countries to remain competitive. 300 aircrafts were required to be sold to recoup the development costs but far fewer were ever manufactured. In the private sector, the innovation project is determined by heavy investments in learning the customer's and supplier's points of views and experiences which are then fed into the innovation being created. Hence, there is a strong emphasis on market viability of the innovation. There should be a greater emphasis on this in the public sector in which innovation is driven more by processes such as creating partnerships and introducing new technology. There is a need to better manage the dissemination of the results of publicly funded innovation and to encourage the nation's private sector to utilise the new technologies (Ling, 2004, Pp 2 - 22).
Although at present France, Germany and the United Kingdom have tried to allocate about 3% of their GDP for research and development in new technologies, the European record for transforming its basic knowledge gained from research and innovation projects into practical and market competitive products has been poor. However, R & D expenditure is by itself insufficient if the results of such efforts cannot be converted into market successes. Governments intervene because there is a lack of risk capital in industry and there are week links between research institutions and industry links. However, this was not the case with the Concorde project because this was an industry project, being managed by British and French industry and government. There is a requirement for better impact assessment for new projects, to set clear goals and ensure that the outcomes are acceptable with the regulatory framework. There has to be a emphasis on the spreading of innovation in the private sector and it should be made clear to the private sector that government funded innovation of technology should be applied in a practical manner. Companies which do this may be rewarded by for example being added to government procurement programs. The products from innovation must be designed for the market. In the United Kingdom, business R & D expenditure lags behind such expenditure amongst its competitors and it is the government's job to facilitate better translation of research projects into competitive innovation. Hence, there appears to be a failure on the part of the British industry which cannot seem to come up with products that perform and deliver to the expectations of the market. The British psyche is oriented towards trading, managing and financial activities, but not producing competitive designing and manufacturing excellence (European Union, 2004, Pp 2 - 9).
Published literature indicates that there is a requirement for the integration of the best practices associated with New Product Development (NPD) and Project Management (PM). The managerial implications for the integration of project management philosophy and new product development philosophy is that program managers should develop a business vision and there should be attempts to promote business vision as well as project management philosophies amongst the individuals involved with a project. There should be development steps and review points involved in a project such as the Concorde which analyse if what has been accomplished is in line with what is required to have been accomplished and if such accomplishments are of a market value. In a project such as the Concorde which was developing new technology with a view to selling a new product to the market, if it had become obvious that the limits of design will not be able to deliver an aircraft which could not fly over land because of the sonic boom that it was generating, then a hard look should have been taken at the project to determine its possible benefits in terms of the expenditure that was being incurred. Obviously, the technology that was being designed was incapable of providing an aircraft which could fly at supersonic speeds without a sonic boom. It was also not possible to reduce the fuel consumption of such a supersonic aircraft to compare with the sub - sonic passenger aircrafts. It is very possible that such design reviews were undertaken but it may very well have been decided that it was worth its while to continue with the project because it was delivering new technology and a product which was acceptable risk for sales. Concorde failed commercially because of its large fuel consumption and the sonic boom which it produced. Program managers must analyse the similarities and differences between project management and new product development along with trying to understand the interdisciplinary nature of attempts to create new technologies (Morris, 2004, Pp 2 - 10). There may also be a need to involve the best scientific talent from all over the world in projects related to innovation so that the skills related to a capability for developing marketable products based on innovative technologies may be transferred. Such skills are the strengths of the industry in the United States of America and Japan. It is important to hire foreign senior managers from time to time to expose British industry to new ideas and ways of doing things (Scottish Scientific Advisory Committee, 2004, Pp 3). There is a need to explore technological diversity in order to prevent becoming locked into the wrong technological options. Hence, a balance has to be struck between standardisation and diversity with an exploration of multiple designs and looking at problems from several different perspectives. The Concorde project is an example of a mission - oriented research program. These programs are usually initiated by policy makers in partnership with industry to impulse R & D and advanced technological innovation into industry. Mission - oriented research programs have been criticised by the economic and financial managers as being very expensive. Their complexity limits the participants in these programs. Apart from the Concorde, the American National Aero Space Plane is another example of a costly mission - oriented project failure. From amongst the lessons that were learnt from the failure of this project included the fact that innovation managers are better off observing the results of decentralised and distributed projects or experiments in order to assess the viability of a project and to prevent a locking up with the wrong technology as can happen in a mission - oriented project execution. It is important to try and build up the research base into new technologies prior to trying to design innovative products based on the innovation in technologies, because it may not be possible for the technology to deliver a product which will meet the desired specifications for the product. Explorations of broad design configurations prior to committing funds to the actual design of a product are also important. There is a need to create pools of knowledge and the research or design infrastructure. However, in the Concorde project, it can be assumed that such pools of knowledge will have existed in the industry associated with the project, but perhaps the designers and managers should have considered if the final product will satisfy the regulatory and commercial demands of markets and what significant benefits it could offer to justify its added costs. It must also be said that sometimes there is a need to learn quickly and develop new products in order to win a race and considerations related to pools of knowledge may be left behind. In such situations it is the mission - oriented project itself which generates the requisite pools of knowledge to provide inputs into future developments (Conesa, 2003, Pp 3 - 20).
Because a product which has been designed on the basis of some newly developed innovative technology has to be accepted by the market, it has to be of good quality and better then its competitors. Hence, projects which aim to produce new products or services must have the appropriate elements of quality control built into the design phase. The management of quality in new product development is something which has been researched and this concept is an integral part of new product development in highly successful global companies such as Nokia. However, it has to be realised that new product development at Nokia is not based on as new a technology as was the case with a project like Concorde. The technology to design and fly the Concorde had to be discovered, while the technology for Nokia phones is in existence and is applied to the design of a new product for the market. However, it is a realistic practical observation that many products of the British industry can benefit from superior quality from a consumer's perspective. The Japanese have cars, the Swedes the mobile phones, the Americans have the computers and the British have excelled at defence equipment in terms of quality. However in an era in which the whole success of an innovation depends on its market acceptance, quality must be built into the research or innovation process. The product development body of knowledge must include Total Quality Management in the design of the new product so that the product can meet the expectations of the customers for years to come. The project management body of knowledge for the design of a new product consists of considerations related to project integration, project costs, project time, project scope, human resources, quality, project communications, risks and procurement. In the Concorde project, the management pf project communications and risks were particularly challenging and it is very likely that the project scope forced a locking up of the project into the wrong technologies. However, the final product failed because it was commercially unviable to operate on all air routes. It is very likely that the best that could be had from the engine technology was indeed obtained, but the commercial world was unwilling to pay the price of supersonic travel. Hence, the project scope and the project integration aspects of the Concorde project should have been considered more carefully. There has to be a constructively applied understanding of the corporate commercial environment and the real world conditions which affect the business for the design of products which are undertaken from a purely commercial point of view. However, in the mission - oriented projects which governments indulge in from time - to -time, the objective of the project extends beyond the commercial considerations of profit into the teaching of industry and hence the Concorde project cannot be regarded as a total failure. The process of action research must be constantly applied to the project related to innovation in order to assist with its better management (Jokinen, 2004, Pp 33 - 70).
Some dimensions of product quality which have been described in published literature include product specifications and operating characteristics, the life cycle and reliability of the product which has been designed, how well does the product perform in accordance with safety requirements and design standards, the engineering, manufacturing and quality costs as well as the production conditions for the manufacturing of the product as well as the maintenance and service requirements for the product. Other factors which are also considered to be of importance in assessing the quality of a new product also include factors related to energy utilisation and the conservation of material, the impact of the product on the environment along with any significant side effects and the total cost to the customer of product operation and the use of the product. It can bee seen that the Concorde lacked many of the expectations that were attached to it as measures of its quality, but one wonders if the expectations that were attached to it when its performance expectations are considered were realistic. After all, the plane was flying at a sustained speed of twice the speed of sound and if someone wanted to possess such a capability, then they should have been able to pay the added costs of fuel and a sonic boom in the environment. The market is an environment in which the consumers are constantly making choices between products based on their price and the quality of service and unless a product can satisfy a want at the right price, the product is likely to be unsuccessful. It appears that the measurement and perception of customer specific requirements have been rather incomplete in many British projects and attempts to research out the alternative products or services which could compete with the product or service being developed have been lacking. Reviews, verification and validation in project management are important and need to be taken more seriously. Project stages should have been determined and the whole project reviewed in the light of progress which had been made. If only commercial considerations were paramount then assessments for commercial returns should have been considered at these stages. Hence, if after the development of the Concorde engine, it was obvious that the fuel consumption was likely to be too high then the project could have been stopped. However, as has been previously mentioned, direct commercial returns on investment were not the only consideration in the Concorde project or other British government projects. The success of the Concorde project was not measured only in terms of the number of planes sold (Jokinen, 2004, Pp 128 - 143).
Corporate culture in an organisation which is attempting to innovate also plays an important role in determining the nature of the final product which is produced. In the Japanese culture, there is and always has been devotion towards what has been asked to be performed. The Samurai culture has always leaned towards being able to perform what is required to be performed in a do or die manner. However, the European culture leans more towards the concept of rendering a service for reward and the emphasis on final accomplishment is limited by counting the number of hours invested for a reward by individuals. Hence, attempts to generate real quality and marketability into products in a European context are likely to be more expensive unless the senior managers in a project instil the concept amongst researchers that products have to be market successes and this may require expanding added efforts by the team which may not be rewarded in terms of monetary compensation in order to ensure that success is achieved. It is entirely possible that some many British government project failures may have a linkage with such a make up of the European psyche. Even small slippages at all levels in an organisation can result in compounding of problems to result in a product which lacks quality and hence market appeal. Attitudes towards power distance, collectivism versus individualism, femininity versus masculinity and uncertainty avoidance as well as preferences for long - term or short - term orientation vary between cultures. However senior project managers must be able to recognise this and try and correct any wrong attitudes during the life of projects. Organisational culture has to be managed by leaders and it is the duty of leaders to emphasise that project success is the only real salvation for all. There is a need for managed revolution through outsiders in British innovation. Values and normative standards must be established in project teams to ensure that there is a greater emphasis on exceeding the requirements of the market in relation to products / services which are being designed. There is a need to come closer to customers or consumers and forecast the utilisation of technology better. A project organisation has to be just a little bit better then its competitors in order to win the war, but getting that little bit out requires a lot of vigilance and thinking on the part of all (Shore, 2005, Pp 55 - 64).
Construction of TQM Concepts (Jokinen, 2004, Pp 48)
A lot has been said about the sharing of risks between the public and the private sector in public / private partnership projects. Even in the context of a mission - oriented project, roles and responsibilities should be better defined in between the public and the private sector. If the private sector has something at risk then perhaps it can be persuaded to perform better and perhaps the role of the public sector should be limited to assisting with the innovation of new technology and with offering minimal assistance to assisting with the translation of this technology into commercial products. New technology innovation is better considered as a commercial partnership between the industry and the public and hence such partnership should be entered into after discussion, negotiation and better definition of roles, responsibilities as well as the way in which this partnership is likely to perform (Bing Li, 2005, Pp 25 - 35).
Pilot studies have been mentioned in the literature as a way of minimising full project risks. Such studies may well avoid a lack of balance between investment and output, the results of information politics when power is abused and the dangers when a true picture of the state of affairs is not transmitted. Pilot studies should also iron out issues related to the lack of responsibility of individuals inside and outside the project and risks of over - commitment in which too much is being committed without being sure of what will be accomplished. One wonders about what would have happened if a smaller project to design a much smaller aircraft which was capable of sustained performance at speeds greater then that of sound was undertaken. The Concorde project had been initiated in an age when even high - performance military aircrafts of the day were incapable of sustained performance at higher then the speed of sound. It is generally inappropriate to try and do all things at once instead of doing things in multiple phases, steps and as multiple projects (Turner, 2005, Pp 1 - 6). Such small steps also serve to counter over optimism on the part of those involved with the management of the project being kept under control. It is entirely possible that the decision to take on a mission - oriented project without trying to develop the sustained performance supersonic aircraft technology in steps may have been the result of over optimism or perhaps even a level of frustration at being able to develop the national industry to a higher level of performance (Turner, 2005, Pp 1 - 6) and (Rivaud-Danset, 2002, Pp 1 - 10).
The Concorde project was a mission - oriented project which was sanctioned by two governments with a view to upgrading the capability of their national industry so that it could perform at a higher level of excellence. The project was a large project by any measure and hence there were many smaller projects which were involved in its successful completion, such as the design of the engine, the airframe, the components for control etc. Hence, there is no single project management recipe which would have fixed it and it cannot even be considered to be a failure in terms of specifications because it did produce the aircraft which performed. However, the sonic boom and the higher fuel consumption was a price that had to be paid for the level of performance desired and this was a limitation of the technology (Feldman, 1985, Chapters 3 - 6) and (Concordesst.com, 2005, 1).
In the next section a discussion related to the reasons behind the failure of British government projects is presented.
Discussion Every year, the British government makes investment and management decisions related to many projects in areas which are considered to be of significance to the nation. Some of these projects may be relatively low risk projects which can be described as routine projects and which use tried and tested technologies to achieve the desired end result. The construction of a new building, installation of IT in a hospital or the decision to construct a bridge are not what may be described as high risk projects, because the technology that is used is tried and proven and abundant managerial expertise exists to manage such projects. Projects may be funded and managed solely from the public purse or a partnership of some kind may be preferred. Foresight on the part of the government also requires that it act in the national interest to undertake projects which the private sector is incapable or unwilling to accept because of the relatively higher risks involved (Nyiri, 2004, Pp. 3 - 10). The funding of research, innovation and the development of new technologies is an important responsibility of a government in a scenario where the investment capital required for innovation and entrepreneurship is in short supply and the national industry cannot attempt to develop radical or innovative technologies without the assistance of the government. The availability of new technologies for the future means that the nation can translate these technologies into commercial products and sustain its competitive advantage. The new technologies can also provide added competitive advantage to the nation by being utilised or made available for the public good. This is not something which is unique to the British government and nearly all governments indulge in such activities. Governments can stimulate research, innovation and entrepreneurship in a number of ways including making available grants, soft loans, skilled expertise etc to the industry. The British government has had a long history of attempting to reinvigorate the British industrial sector through measures which have included attempting to improve the availability of venture capital, encouraging mergers to develop industrial giants, encouraging small high - technology start ups and working for the better collaboration between industry and the academia (Owen, 2004, Pp 14 -20). In certain situations when there has been a desire to radically reinvigorate industry and to inject new capability, the mission - oriented mega project has been attempted. Examples of such mission - oriented mega projects include the design of the Concorde Supersonic Aircraft, the Fifth Generation Supercomputer Project and many other projects including the High Speed Magnetic Levitation Vehicle Project etc. These mission - oriented projects have been tried not just in Britain, but also in many other developed countries of the world. Many such mission - oriented mega projects have been attempted in many advanced economies around the world, but even though considerable scientific progress and technological breakthroughs were reported, the projects did not translate into commercial successes immediately on completion. The Concorde aircraft project was a technological success, but a commercial failure and this was also the case with many other projects of its kind around the world. It has been suggested by management experts and economists that perhaps smaller pilot projects or a number of smaller experiments are needed to fix the direction of the technologies being developed as well as to judge the likely outcomes of attempts to develop new products based on the new technologies developed.
The British government came under severe public criticism because of the Concorde project. However, it was not just the Concorde project which had come to the public attention as being of concern in terms of its management and results. There were many other projects involving attempts to implement public IT infrastructure which had caused problems (Fire Brigades Union, 2005, Pp 2 - 8). It seems that well intentioned public policy makers had shown a disregard for good commercial judgement and a lack of careful study of the market conditions in analysing the commercial impact of the project. Many government projects suffered from cost overruns, slipping of the project completion schedules and poor quality. Such slippages may be excused in attempts to develop radically new advanced technologies such as for sustained supersonic air transport, but they were inexcusable in the implementation of IT projects. Government's own investigations into the situation demanded greater transparency and better control of the projects. Other recommendations included better commercial assessment, risk analysis and the market analysis for new projects especially those involving high technology (HM Treasury, 2004, Pp 4 - 10).
The Concorde project was behind schedule and cost far in excess of what it had been envisaged that it would have cost to develop. However, there was a working product at the end and the final product did perform well. However, the sonic boom and the cost of operating the aircraft made the technology unacceptable from the consumer's perspective. British Airways and Air France, the two airlines operating the Concorde were not making money on their Concorde operations. British Airways had to write off £84 million and Air France had to write off a large sum too. The aircraft was breaking even on operations, but it could not pay for modifications and the overhauls that were required. The passengers were not willing to pay for supersonic travel at far higher rates and the flights were never fully booked. Hence, Concorde failed, not because of any design errors or flaws in technology, but because the operating cost of the technological system was in excess of what the market could sustain to support its operations. The technology system had failed from a market perspective. If Concorde was a defence requirement, then ways and means could have been found to justify the expenditure being incurred to operate the system. As a purely business concern, the Concorde failed because it could not pay for itself. However, this commercial failure did not mean that the lessons learnt from the development of the Concorde technology were not applied to the development of military aircraft capable of sustained flight in excess of the speed of sound. Concorde was the first aircraft capable of sustained supersonic operation at speeds above the speed of sound. There was a technology gamble. It was entirely possible that other aircrafts from other nations will have been developed for civil aviation which was capable of travelling at supersonic speeds. This would have meant that the whole global aviation industry had turned a new page. There was a possibility that the United States could have joined in the race for a supersonic aircraft. However, this did not happen and the consumers preferred to pay lower fares for subsonic travel, which was more economical. Hence, although the British government project was a success from the technology innovation perspective, it could not live up to the demands of the market in which it had to ultimately survive (Concordesst.com, 2005, 1). This has been the problem with many British government projects and in fact the problem has not just been with British government projects, but with all mission - oriented government funded projects from around the world which had been undertaken to design new technology.
For the Concorde project, the project management organisation was quite complex, consisting of two governments and four aviation companies, spanning two countries. However, it is entirely likely that much will have been learnt by working together and through the exchange of ideas. If efforts had been undertaken to take on a smaller project, then perhaps the losses will not have been so colossal. £1.134 billion was the project cost for the Concorde project and £278 million was recovered from the sales. The huge project deficit was funded by the British and French governments and provided as a gift to their industry and technologists, who went on to work on the Airbus project which is a commercial success. Without Concorde, Airbus will not have been a success. The money was made to circulate in the British and French economy by the governments and will have been recovered in other ways. However, it is always appropriate to try and learn from previous endeavours in order to perform better in the future (Concordesst.com, 2005, 1).
The Concorde project and later the E-University project indicate that there is a need for establishing project milestones and review points when the performance of a project should be reviewed. The project managers must ensure that the organisational culture is changed so that those involve with the project better understand that there is a greater emphasis on commercial success and design for the market. For large technology projects, benefits can be had by involving competent personnel from overseas industry who can bring new insights and skills. The ability of the United States and Japanese industry to translate technology into market competitive products is proven and there is a lot that may be gained from learning from these industries. Smaller pilot projects and experiments need to be conducted in order to thoroughly analyse the market and the commercial impact of a project which may be under consideration. There is a need for better risk management and a better review philosophy. A culture of quality in design and management of innovation already exists, but should always be reemphasised. The Concorde project was too large and research oriented a project to be subjected to criticism on the basis of a lack of sound project management techniques. Many sub - projects were involved and the mission -oriented nature meant that teams were locked into designing the technology. Because new technology was being designed, therefore, it would have been difficult to have made a go or no-go decision. It was a technological gamble which, hopefully, paid returns in many other ways apart from the sale of the designed aircraft.
Conclusion The mission - oriented technology innovation projects which governments of advanced countries have indulged in the last decades have acted as a means of stimulating the creation of new technology and upgrading the capability of the national industry. Because of the risks involved, such projects were only possible through the active involvement of the governments. Nearly all such projects were commercial failures, but paid dividends in terms of what was learnt from them and later applied to develop new products. Foresight demands that governments extend such assistance to industry. However, there is now a tendency to try smaller experiments and pilot projects. There is a need for better control and performance review of all British government projects and the quality of the innovation effort, its commercial or market impact and better risk sharing with the private sector which must be carefully considered.
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Каждую ночь юный Танкадо смотрел на свои скрюченные пальцы, вцепившиеся в куклу Дарума note 1и клялся, что отомстит - отомстит стране, которая лишила его матери, а отца заставила бросить его на произвол судьбы. Не знал он только одного - что в его планы вмешается судьба. В феврале того года, когда Энсею исполнилось двенадцать, его приемным родителям позвонили из токийской фирмы, производящей компьютеры, и предложили их сыну-калеке принять участие в испытаниях новой клавиатуры, которую фирма сконструировала для детей с физическими недостатками.