If the plane is crashing you´d better look out of the window, don´t just keep your eyes on the gauges! Read how Dr.Kelvin Stott has delighted us with the right mix of academic background, business experience and a refined British sense of humor.
What a nice evening I had on the 3rd of May. I left the office by 5 pm and walked towards the Novotel in downtown Geneva. There I met Sandro, who like me has recently passed his PMP exam and is starting to enjoy attending the chapter events on a more regular basis. After a chat and a cup of coffee we were comfortably seated in the conference room for the beginning of Dr Kelvin Stott´s presentation at 6:30, among 30 other participants.
The timing of the conference couldn´t have been better: one week before Merck Serono - the pharma giant based in Sécheron, just 2km away from us - announced its closing. At least 500 jobs will be lost due to the challenging times this industry is facing. Dr. Stott knew the situation from the inside, having been a Senior Executive at Serono himself until June 2011.
The Serono experience combined with his years at Cambridge, McKinsey and at his own biotech startup were enough to have our attention on his views about how to manage an R´n´D portfolio. In a few bullet points:
- The ultimate business goal is to optimize the balance between risk and return for each individual project,
- This optimization can be achieved by navigating the project across a risk / return chart, a tool we were presented in detail,
- Common pitfalls that are key to avoid are over modeling with limited data and human bias in ROI evaluation,
- R&D projects are about discovering what works more than making it work.
- Finally, improve your approach on scenario creation - from discrete scenarios to a continuous model of potential outcomes,
The complete set of tools can be found in the presentation in his LinkedIn profile page http://ch.linkedin.com/in/kelvinstott
but we were advised to use them carefully:
The temptation is to model more and more scenarios increasing the perceived accuracy - scenarios are like rabbits, they breed and multiply!