Decision: Research Strategy

Some of you may work in the very early stages of investigating science or translating science into new and useful technologies that create the value engine for new products.  Although most of my clients through the years have taken relatively proven technologies and system-engineered them in clever ways to deliver new solutions, decision patterns can be used as a Decision Breakdown Structure to guide basic and applied scientific research.

To address this, I’ve added a Research Strategy decision branch to the Decision Driven® Strategy pattern.  Research Strategy fits into the broader new product development Decision Breakdown Structure, which provides a “whole product vision“, a term I recently heard used by Dr. Alan Seabaugh of Notre Dame in the context of nanotechnology commercialization.

These product decisions provide the “market pull” and “knowledge pull” to guide the research toward science that is both true and useful.  If you were doing less-focused applied research or basic research, you might place the Research Strategy branch under a “Research Portfolio” decision that prioritized various technology or research topic areas for an entire lab.

Research Strategy-Pattern-Tree

In the context of a new product development project, the Research Strategy decision fits under the Operating Regimes decision.  The Operating Regime determines which science is applicable, i.e. at what scale, frequency range, phase of matter, temperature or power levels will the “engine” of the product (the primary value-creating reaction or mechanism) be operated.  Within that Operating Regime, there will be many possible Behaviors to Exploit (e.g. properties of materials, reactions) that could be combined to create value.  There will also be numerous Behaviors to Control (e.g. noise, parasitic effects) that will interfere with the value-creating reactions.

The Research Strategy decision is a sibling of these Behavior decisions; research may deeply investigate a specific behavior, property or reaction, but most often will seek to understand the interactions between multiple relevant behaviors or to evaluate the effectiveness of various exploitation or control technologies.

In the decision pattern, I’ve assumed that the Research Strategy may include multiple experiments/studies used to explore the interesting and potentially useful behaviors within the Operating Regime.  Each study or experiment is then broken down into its own decision pattern as shown below.

Study Concept decision pattern -Tree

Study Concept decision pattern -Tree

Operating Regimes-pattern-table

The Research Strategy decision pattern can help your team:

  • Focus their efforts on the most promising science topics
  • Align your research with your product vision
  • Improve the quality of your research plan and experimental design
  • Accelerate the most promising technologies into reality

It’s all available online as part of a subscription to the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) for you DIYs (do-it-yourselfers).  However, I recommend that you take advantage of my jump-start service through which I frame your current research project portfolio into a comprehensive Decision Breakdown Structure; this will give you faster payback on the power of decision patterns. Please contact the Decision Driven® Solutions team at or to start your free trial of DDSF.

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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