Vol.8 No.2 2015

Research paper : Study of the top 70 NEDO Inside Products (M. YAMASHITA et al.)−89−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.8 No.2 (2015) Answer (Masaru Yamashita)I totally agree with your point. NEDO has invested approximately 3 trillion yen as R&D expenditure over 30 years. It is only 70 out of it which have come into our focus as NEDO Inside Products. As demonstrated in subchapter 3.2, the investment of some 640 billion yen has actually generated practical application and sales, and the remaining 2.34 trillion yen resulted in failure. The follow-up survey by NEDO indicates that nearly 20 % of the project participants has successfully managed practical application and market launch, but those actually record sales are even less. However, in the answers to the questionnaire, almost all the researchers who took part in unsuccessful projects commented that they gained a degree of success in the form of papers, patents, know-how, training, and networking. About 80-90 % of them in fact admitted that they were reasonably satisfied despite the hardship during the project. Nevertheless, it seemed more appropriate to present as much quantifiable data as possible instead of showcasing such positive responses, in order to avoid subjectivity and self-satisfaction in evaluation. We considered it crucial to focus on such data as employment, CO2 reduction, secondary social effects, and gross social benefit (resource circulation by recycling, CO2 reduction, environmental measures, etc.) which can be presented in figure.6 Technological ripple effectsComment (Ayu Washizu)I found Figs. 5 and 6 interesting as it gives a picture of technological development. In my view, the ripple effects of technologies that are not apparent in particular need more attention. These must be clearly illustrated, and the description in chapter 5 needs to be more precise.Answer (Masaru Yamashita)Due to the word limit, we mention only the essence of technological ripple effects; however, we have changed the description in chapter 5 to a more specific expression to make it clearer. Particularly, not only did we discuss the technology but also the effects on the human resource and the environment in the last paragraph. As for the complexity of Fig.6, we have revised it and simplified the diagram.7 Success factors and their evolvement in future project managementQuestion and comment (Naoto Kobayashi and Akira Kageyama)In the classification and selection of NEDO Inside Products, you might have explored the effective measures the companies and NEDO take or the positive effects the market environment caused that create such ‘stellar’ products. It is worth including the points above in brief at, for example, the end of chapter 2.I would also recommend you analyze the successes and the failures whereby you can develop a simple and useful evaluation method to measure the investment effects; which can be utilized in the management and evaluation of future R&D projects.Answer (Masaru Yamashita)For almost all the NEDO Inside Products under investigation, we conducted interviews as well as questionnaire surveys. The successful projects, by and large, manage to materialize the seeds of technology in the way that satisfy the needs and the market demand. At the same time, we recognized the major factors of success below: (1) The participants gained significantly larger amount of data, compared to their usual research situation; (2) the companies explored a mechanism which brought about improved reliability and problem-solving strategies, and development, modification, and extension of research policies through joint research opportunity with universities; (3) the participants were reasonably confident with the technology from the start for its practical feasibility and commercial viability; (4) the participants kept the idea for long before the project launch; (5) the participants had already had unrivaled know-how and capabilities, which saw further improvement and were exploited in the course of the project; (6) the participants were skeptical about the market information and proactive in exchanging information within the team; and (7) the participants carried out prototype demonstrations and repeatedly verified and modified the technology to the point where it was elaborate enough to ensure its proximity to commercialization. These were discussed in newly added subchapter 2.8 “Success factors of NEDO Inside Products.”We conduct interviews and questionnaire surveys on a project for up to five years after the completion, asking (almost all) the companies involved to participate. Using methods such as regression analysis, we work out the possible behavior patterns of successes and failures. As a result, we found out that unsuccessful projects and successful projects are somewhat different in the way they treat failures. The quality we have achieved in this paper is attributed to the discussion with the reviewers; which enabled us to extract and present the success factors of NEDO Inside Products. By sharing the results from these analyses, we hope to give NEDO’s project management food for thought. An article specifically on these analyses will be submitted in due course.8 Intellectual property of NEDO Inside ProductsComment (Akira Kageyama)It is presumably due to the limitation of space, but you spared no effort to mention patents in this paper. Patents are incredibly important as the means to protect R&D achievements. If you managed to describe the level of patent protection the 70 themes of NEDO Inside Products are offered, that would illustrate a part of the technological effects and serve as an index of the international competitiveness of made-in-Japan technologies. A few lines of description should be sufficient enough to show that you are aware of the significance of intellectual property.Answer (Masaru Yamashita)As you pointed out, the patents represent remarkable achievement. There is a study underway confirming the patents’ relevance to NEDO project outcomes, and so far, only around 30,000 are being investigated. A team of researchers will have opportunities to publish the findings in the form of oral presentation in an academic society meeting or a journal article. For this reason, I added a line “another research on the intellectual property of NEDO Inside Products is underway, and a paper is forthcoming.” in chapter 7 “Summary.”


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