On hiring a consultant

A client of mine who has built a successful enterprise software systems development firm over the last 15 years, is now wanting to hire a consultant(s) to help him define some strategic objectives going forward.  He finally has the disposable cash to do this kind of thing.  He had me review the consultant’s proposal, and here was my guidance to him:

I think getting a fresh perspective from the “outside” can be a healthy exercise, but there is also some measure of risk that it can lead you astray. So go into it with eyes wide open.

Here are some due diligence questions to ask yourself before proceeding:

  • Do you like these guys? Are you comfortable with them? Do you respect them? What does your gut tell you?
  • Have you asked for three references that you can call? This is VERY IMPORTANT!
  • What do they know about software and your market? Or, if they have no direct experience, do you think their general experience and skills can yield some valuable insights for your unique situation?
  • Last question is, all things considered, for the price they charge, do you think there is not much to lose, and maybe something valuable to gain?

If you can ask those questions and they pass the test, then I would give it a shot.

sp

Closing the Innovation Gap

“Our short-sightedness has led to major challenges — dependence on oil, climate change, health care, and national security — that threaten our economy and quality of life. Each challenge also brings opportunities — if we give innovation the attention it deserves.”

Engineering and R&D Research and Development  search What’s likely to be the “next big thing?” What might be the most fertile areas for innovation? Where should countries and companies invest their limited research funds? What technology areas are a company’s competitors pursuing? How are projects chosen for R&D?  What is R&D’s past record for successful completion of projects to budget and schedule?  When does management expect products will reach the market from research projects currently underway?  Is the company working smart to optimize the FDA approval process?  How would management rate the company’s R&D operations against its competitors?  How well does R&D integrate its work with marketing?  End user?  Engineering?  Production?  Is R&D’s major emphasis applied or basic research?  How much do the company’s projected financials depend upon successful new products developed by R&D?  Does the company effectively protect the secrecy of R&D projects?  Is there sufficient federal financing to support R&D at adequate levels?  What is the company’s approach towards capitalization of R&D expenses?  Is management well informed of R&D activities?  Are the company’s research facilities adequate?  How confident is management that R&D’s team and plan will lead to the right product(s) at the right time?  Has management evaluated the cost-effectiveness of shifting some portion of R&D expenditures and operations to external sources? (a) venture capital funds; (b) R&D alliances; (c) government funding such as ATP in general: Chance favors the prepared mind. Pasteur | citations: zotero | crowd funding: experiment | design of experiments: about | electronic lab notebooks: www.intellichem.com | ethics: Integrity in Research and Publication | europe: cordis | www.evaluatingresearchcenters.com | incentivization: prize challenges | magazines: rdmag | matching problems with solutions: www.innocentive.com | molecular imaging: www.visenmedical.com | networks: internet2 | patents: mapping | pharmaceutical R&D: www.teranode.com, wingu | poster template | rent & read: deepdyve | research universities: www.aau.edu | videos: labtv academic: The traditional metric of academic capital is citations. | Should researchers make their source code available when submitting a research paper to a peer-reviewed scientific journal? | bio template: publications.ca | data sharing: figshare | funding opportunity announcements: grantforward | impact: h-index | news: futurity | scientific literature: Action Science Explorer | Association of Research Libraries | open access, peer-reviewed joournals: peerj, plusone.org  | social networking: academia.edu | Search: academic.research.microsoft federal labs: Argonne National Laboratory: www.anl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory: www.inl.gov | Kansas City Plant: www.kcp.com | Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: www.lbl.gov | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: www.llnl.gov | Los Alamos National Laboratory: www.lanl.gov | National Renewable Energy Laboratory: www.nrel.gov | Oak Ridge National Laboratory: www.ornl.gov | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: www.pnl.gov | Sandia National Laboratory: www.sandia.gov | Y-12 National Security Complex Heilmeier Catechism: What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.  How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?  What's new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?  Who cares?  If you're successful, what difference will it make?  What are the risks and the payoffs?  How much will it cost?  How long will it take?  What are the midterm and final "exams" to check for success? | The Heilmeier Catechism Visits the University sp lab management: workflow management: accelrys | software: quartzy free multidisciplinary research: What are the top ten actions that Congress, the federal government, state governments, research universities and others could take to assure the ability of the American research university to maintain the excellence in research and doctoral education needed to help the United States compete, prosper, and achieve national goals for health, energy, the environment, and security in the global community of the 21st century? Stanford | synthesis centers: science incubators | World Café charrette translation of project results: To what extent do the research issues being pursued relate to challenges along the pathway towards achieving meaningful use?  How effective are the methods used to accelerate translation of research into application(s)?  To what extent has the project identified the salient, potentially breakthrough challenges?  Are innovative research methods being applied to meet the ultimate research agenda?  What problems have been encountered in implementing all of the required features of the project?  What relationships has the project established with industry to facilitate the translation of the research? | funding: action science: definitions | proof-of-concept books and articles: Breakthrough Stefik | Closing the Innovation Gap Estrin | Evaluating Research Centers & Institutes for Success! Tash | Scientists Popularizing Science: Characteristics/Impact of TED Presenters Sugimoto Innovation | Crowd | Science | Collaboration | Atoms | IP | News | Big Data

Crowd funding scientific research

Science for the people, by the people.

Engineering and R&D Research and Development Chance favors the prepared mind. Pasteur What’s likely to be the “next big thing?” What might be the most fertile areas for innovation? Where should countries and companies invest their limited research funds? What technology areas are a company’s competitors pursuing? How are projects chosen for R&D?  What is R&D’s past record for successful completion of projects to budget and schedule?  When does management expect products will reach the market from research projects currently underway?  Is the company working smart to optimize the FDA approval process?  How would management rate the company’s R&D operations against its competitors?  How well does R&D integrate its work with marketing?  End user?  Engineering?  Production?  Is R&D’s major emphasis applied or basic research?  How much do the company’s projected financials depend upon successful new products developed by R&D?  Does the company effectively protect the secrecy of R&D projects?  Is there sufficient federal financing to support R&D at adequate levels?  What is the company’s approach towards capitalization of R&D expenses?  Is management well informed of R&D activities?  Are the company’s research facilities adequate?  How confident is management that R&D’s team and plan will lead to the right product(s) at the right time?  Has management evaluated the cost-effectiveness of shifting some portion of R&D expenditures and operations to external sources? (a) venture capital funds; (b) R&D alliances; (c) government funding such as ATP in general: citations: zotero | crowd funding: experiment  search design of experiments: about | electronic lab notebooks: www.intellichem.com | ethics: Integrity in Research and Publication | europe: cordis | www.evaluatingresearchcenters.com | incentivization: prize challenges | magazines: rdmag | matching problems with solutions: www.innocentive.com | molecular imaging: www.visenmedical.com | networks: internet2 | patents: mapping | pharmaceutical R&D: www.teranode.com, wingu | poster template | rent & read: deepdyve | research universities: www.aau.edu | videos: labtv academic: The traditional metric of academic capital is citations. | Should researchers make their source code available when submitting a research paper to a peer-reviewed scientific journal? | bio template: publications.ca | data sharing: figshare | funding opportunity announcements: grantforward | impact: h-index | news: futurity | scientific literature: Action Science Explorer | Association of Research Libraries | open access, peer-reviewed joournals: peerj, plusone.org  | social networking: academia.edu | Search: academic.research.microsoft federal labs: Argonne National Laboratory: www.anl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory: www.inl.gov | Kansas City Plant: www.kcp.com | Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: www.lbl.gov | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: www.llnl.gov | Los Alamos National Laboratory: www.lanl.gov | National Renewable Energy Laboratory: www.nrel.gov | Oak Ridge National Laboratory: www.ornl.gov | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: www.pnl.gov | Sandia National Laboratory: www.sandia.gov | Y-12 National Security Complex Heilmeier Catechism: What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.  How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?  What's new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?  Who cares?  If you're successful, what difference will it make?  What are the risks and the payoffs?  How much will it cost?  How long will it take?  What are the midterm and final "exams" to check for success? | The Heilmeier Catechism Visits the University sp lab management: workflow management: accelrys | software: quartzy free multidisciplinary research: What are the top ten actions that Congress, the federal government, state governments, research universities and others could take to assure the ability of the American research university to maintain the excellence in research and doctoral education needed to help the United States compete, prosper, and achieve national goals for health, energy, the environment, and security in the global community of the 21st century? Stanford | synthesis centers: science incubators | World Café charrette translation of project results: To what extent do the research issues being pursued relate to challenges along the pathway towards achieving meaningful use?  How effective are the methods used to accelerate translation of research into application(s)?  To what extent has the project identified the salient, potentially breakthrough challenges?  Are innovative research methods being applied to meet the ultimate research agenda?  What problems have been encountered in implementing all of the required features of the project?  What relationships has the project established with industry to facilitate the translation of the research? | funding: action science: definitions | proof-of-concept books and articles Breakthrough by Mark Stefik & Barbara Stefik Evaluating Research Centers & Institutes for Success! by William R. Tash Scientists Popularizing Science: Characteristics/Impact of TED Presenters by Sugimoto Crowd | Science | Collaboration | Atoms | Innovation | IP | News | Big Data

Mexican migration to U.S. is declining

Manual labor for agriculture is getting harder and harder to find. For generations hard working immigrants from Mexico have come to US farms, nurseries and greenhouses to work, but that trend seems to be tapering off.  Shifting migration patterns have come to a point where migration from the US into Mexico is slightly higher than from Mexico into the US.

Population Immigration in general:  community-building: shelbyvillemultimedia | data: Migration Policy Institute | green card: roadmap | management system: www.immigrationtracker.com books, essays, films: Borderland NPR | Of Mice and Men Steinbeck | The Arrival Tan | The Real Story of the Superheroes Pinzón | Welcome | Welcome to Shelbyville Snyder Data | Economic | Education | Employees | HR | Issues | Jobs