Richard Reeves
B u s i n e s s   S k i l l s   f o r   S c i e n c e   a n d   T e c h n o l o g y rule

A practitioner's recommended books

Leslie Falkingham
was formerly Technology Director for the ALSTOM T&D Medium Voltage Business. While an R&D manager he studied management of R&D at the section level for his PhD under my supervision. This involved reading over 200 textbooks. He has made a selection of the ones he found most useful in the real world of industrial R&D, and these are listed here. Leslie is now the manager of his own company, Vaccuum Interrupters Ltd, and also consults and teaches on the management of R&D.

See also A Practitioner's Recommended Papers.

The books are listed in three categories:
New Product Development


Competitive Strategy,
M.E. Porter
The Free Press, London, 1980
The classic book by one of the leading thinkers on corporate strategy. Porter's "Five Forces" theory is widely taught, and this book puts this into overall perspective. A little dated from today's viewpoint but still worth reading.

The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning,
H. Mintzberg
Prentice Hall, Harlow, 1994
An excellent book which explains the failure of strategic and corporate planning with examples in a very readable way. Essential reading if your company is still following the 1980's corporate planning route, as many are.

The Economic Laws of Scientific Research
T. Kealey
Macmillan Press, London, 1996
An excellent book on the debate between state funded and industrially funded R&D. The views and ideas are directly transferable to the argument between central corporate R&D and Unit R&D, which still rages in industry.

Strategy Safari
H. Mintzberg, B Ahlstrand, J. Lampel
Prentice Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 1998
A good and enjoyable guide to the jungle of strategy formulation. Covers the history of corporate strategy, and identifies over ten different schools of strategic thought. Discusses good and bad points of each.


Engineering Progress through Trouble (1975)
Engineering Progress through Development (1978) The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London.
Two excellent sets of case studies of large engineering development programmes ranging from the jet engine to the large steam turbine. A fascinating history, and when it all goes horribly wrong it's nice to know that you are in good company. I particularly like the Pi theory of development overspend.

The Reflective Practitioner
D.A. Schone
Basic Books, NY, 1982
An interesting book reviewing the practices of professional practitioners in all walks of life. It applies particularly to problem solving situations such as are found in R&D and looks at improvisation versus learned response to situations. Very thought provoking.

Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation
R.A. Burgelman, M.A. Maidique
Irwin, NY, 1988
A classic book on corporate R&D management. A little dated now, but an excellent review of the state of the art in 1988 by two leading writers in the field.

R&D Tactics
H.R. Kaufman
Front Range Research, Fort Collins, 1989
A practical guide to R&D written by a practitioner. Full of excellent advice. Hard to get hold of but highly recommended.

Third Generation R&D
P.A. Roussel K. N. Saad T. J. Erickson
Harvard Business School Press, Boston,1991.
The classic book on corporate R&D, expressing the progression of R&D over the past century in terms of three generations. Still effectively state of the art.

World Class Quality
K.R. Bhote
AMACOM, NY, 1991
A very good book on the design of experiments approach to problem solving as applied to processes throughout the organisation. This thinking led eventually to Total Quality, and the Six Sigma type of approach.

New Product Development

Winning at New Products Edition - 2nd
Robert G Cooper
Addison Wesley, 1993
The only book to read if you are interested in the Stage Gate method of controlling the New Product Development process. Written by the leading guru. The section on how not to do it makes very interesting reading. Highly recommended.

New Product Development - A Reader
S. Hart
The Dryden Press, London, 1996
A good introduction to New Product Development. Twenty eight seminal articles on the subject covering topics such as; Success and failure, Strategy, Models, The stages of the NPD process, and Interfacing with the organisation.

Developing products in Half the Time - 2nd Edition P.G Smith, D.G Reinertsen
Wiley & Sons, NY. 1998
What can I say? Reinertson claims to do what it says on the cover. Seriously though, a very practical guide to improving the development process. Based to some extent on a novel application of queuing theory.

Managing the Design Factory
D.G. Reinertsen
The Free Press, NY. 1997
Reinertsen's follow-up book expanding on his ideas from "Developing products in Half the Time". I would recommend reading book one first.

The Innovation War
C. F. Von Braun
Prentice Hall, London, 1997
An interesting proposal that R&D has developed into a form of arms race. Poses quite deep questions about the nature and reasons for industrial R&D. Thought provoking