New UK research & development agency will require nifty balancing

New UK research & development agency will require nifty balancing

2/17/2020

New UK research & development agency will require nifty balancing

A British version of the US’s famed unit will need just enough failures and the right amount of funding, writes Tim Harford

BL PREMIUM 16 February 2020 - 19:03 Tim Harford Tim Bradshaw, head of the Russell Group of leading UK universities, has a curious tale to tell about failure. A few years ago he visited the Cambridge office of an admired Japanese company to find them fretting about the success rate of their research & development. At 70%, it was far too high: the research teams had been risk averse, pursuing easy wins at the expense of more radical and risky long shots. The late Marty Sklar, a Disney veteran, once told me a similar tale — if his colleagues weren’t failing at half of their endeavours, they weren’t being brave or creative enough. My boss at the World Bank 15 years ago had the same worry that too many projects were succeeding. B Premium This article is reserved for our subscribers. A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select. Already subscribed? Simply sign in below. Read more: Business Day

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