Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2012

Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation

by Willy Shih and Margaret Pierson

Abstract

Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (DNATF), a government agency, invests in public-private partnerships to stimulate commercialization of Danish scientific research within the country's industry. DNATF established a process for evaluating proposals, making project awards, and then actively managing those projects to try to improve the likelihood of success. DNATF has a small staff of project managers who act as single points of contact (SPOCs) for the projects. SPOCs are confronted with a broad range of projects rich in scientific complexity and technical issues, well beyond one individual's ability to maintain subject matter expertise. The case poses several questions: How does the organization manage and evaluate scientific and technical progress in circumstances when it is difficult to have subject matter expertise? How do managers know if they are pushing hard enough, or if they are taking too aggressive a stance?

Keywords: Leadership; Commercialization; Management Practices and Processes; Experience and Expertise; Innovation and Invention; Public Ownership; Business and Government Relations; Technology Industry; Denmark;

Citation:

Shih, Willy, and Margaret Pierson. "Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation." Harvard Business School Case 612-091, April 2012.