An Assessment of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center's Utilization of the Processes, and Availability of Tools and Physical Environments that Promote Innovation
LAWRENCE TECHNOLOGICAL UNIV SOUTHFIELD MI SOUTHFIELD United States
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A perception exists in the Army that the research and development laboratories are not innovative. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center TARDEC utilizes the processes, and has the tools and physical environments that effectively promote innovation. Note, having the tools and physical environments that promote innovation does not mean that they are effectively utilized. Personnel in TARDEC were surveyed with questions that ask if the organization utilizes innovation best practice processes, if individuals utilize innovation best practice processes, if the tools are available to individuals to innovate, and if physical environments that promote innovation are available to individuals. In addition, survey participants were asked how important these processes, tools and physical environments are to innovation at TARDEC. Survey participants consisted of 118 people who work for TARDEC. The analyses consist of descriptive statistics for the demographics, one-sample t-tests to test the hypotheses, Cronbachs alpha to determine the reliability of the data, and Pearsons correlation to compare the importance of the innovation factors to the utilization and availability of the processes, tools and physical environment. The research found that, with the exception of strategic planning, the TARDEC organization is not utilizing best innovation processes. Second, individuals are using opportunity analysis and cross-functional teams to generate and mature ideas even though these activities are not happening at the organizational level. Activity at the individual level, however, is not sustainable for the organization. Third, TARDEC associates do not have access to the tools needed to promote innovation. Finally, the data imply that TARDEC does appear to have physical environment conducive to innovation. These results suggest that improvements in processes and tools will promote innovation.