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Title: An investigation into the treatment of uncertainty and risk in roadmapping : a framework and a practical process
Author: Ilevbare, Imohiosen Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 9988
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis investigates roadmapping in the context of its application to strategic early-stage innovation planning. It is concerned with providing an understanding of how uncertainty and risk are manifested in roadmapping in this application, and with developing and testing a roadmapping process that supports appropriate treatment of uncertainty and risk. Roadmapping is an approach to early-stage innovation planning, which is strategic in nature. It is seeing increasing application in practice and receiving growing attention in management literature. There has, however, been a noticeable lack of attention to uncertainty and risk in roadmapping theory and practice (and generally in strategic planning and at innovation’s early-stages). This is despite the awareness that uncertainty and risk are fundamental to strategy and innovation (i.e. application domains of roadmapping), and that roadmapping is meant to deliver, as part of its benefits, the identification, resolution and communication of uncertainties and risks. There is very limited theoretical or practical direction on what this entails. It is this gap that the research reported in thesis addresses. The research is divided into two phases. The first phase explains the manifestations and mechanisms of uncertainty and risk in roadmapping. It also introduces ‘risk-aware roadmapping’, a concept of roadmapping that includes a conscious and explicit effort to address uncertainty and risk, and points out what the process would entail in terms of necessary steps and procedures. The research here is designed using mixed methods (a combination of experience surveys, archival analysis, and case studies). The second phase provides a practical risk-aware roadmapping process. This practical process is developed based on the results of the first phase, and is designed according to procedural action research. This thesis contributes to the fields of roadmapping, early-stage innovation and organisational sensemaking. It is found that factors related to the content, process and nature of roadmapping interact to influence the perception and treatment of uncertainty and risk. Characteristics of organisational sensemaking as theorised by Weick (1995) are explored in the light of the findings and challenged. Aspects of early-stage innovation including the generation and selection of innovation ideas are explored in the context of uncertainty and risk and important paradoxes and constraints at innovation’s early-stages.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Cambridge Commonwealth Trust ; Nakazawa CATI Mexico ; Research and Development Management Association
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Roadmapping ; Innovation front-end ; Strategic planning ; Innovation strategy ; Uncertainty ; Risk ; Strategy as practice ; Organisational sensemaking ; Scenario planning ; Risk management