Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation

Case Solution

Willy Shih, Margaret Pierson
Harvard Business School ()

The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (DNATF), a government agency, invests in public-private partnerships to promote the commercialization of Danish scientific research in the country’s industry. DNATF has established a process to evaluate proposals, award project awards, and then actively manage these projects in an attempt to increase the likelihood of success. DNATF has a small staff of project managers who act as Single Points of Contact (SPOC) for projects. SPOCs are faced with a wide range of projects, rich in scientific complexities and technical problems, far beyond an individual’s ability to gain experience. The case raises several questions: How does the organization manage and evaluate scientific and technical progress in situations where it is difficult to have experience? How do managers know if they are pushing hard enough or taking too aggressive a stance?

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