Insight is valuable. Understanding how the executives in your organizations think is important to understanding if you’re aligned to their goals and objectives. And ultimately, that determines a lot in terms of your role and your engineering team’s role within the company.

A little while ago, I published a post titled Research on CEO’s Priorities: What it Means for Engineering that included some research findings from the CEO study conducted by IBM. Well, there’s a new CEO study conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers that is now available. You can download the report yourself at their site. But I wanted to talk about some of the findings here as they relate to engineering leaders.

The Expectation is Growth

Remember in the past when it’s been said that CEO’s are now expecting growth while coming out of the recession. Well, here’s some statistical proof.

Note that this is the percentage of CEO’s that are not just confident but very confident about their company’s ability to grow over the next 12 months and 3 years. How do they expect to grow? Interestingly enough, the story has changed over the course of the last year.

Specifically, new product and service development is now cutting across increase share in existing markets this year. So make sure to look all the way to the right where the two are intersecting. The difference between the two went from 18% to 0% in one year.

So what you might say? From my perspective, you can use operational tactics and incremental improvements to products to increase share in existing markets. However the truth behind that statement can vary dramatically from industry to industry and situation to situation. But new product and service development requires a more aggressive approach for engineering and R&D organizations. That’s less about the next generation of a technology and more about discovering entirely new technologies to incorporate into products. That means engineering leaders have to take on new approaches in product development. It’s more clean sheet design. There’s a lot more verification and validation that’s necessary because there’s no historical baseline upon which you can build.

Conclusions and Summary

This may not be shocking news, but it is more confirmation of the CEO’s expectations in terms of the role engineering and R&D will play in growth. They expect new products and services will be the leading contributor, a change from just last year. There are lots more findings in the study relating to reshoring and talent management that I’ll cover in future posts.

Want to weigh in? Have you seen the type of engineering projects your group is working on change over the course of the last year? Are there more ‘new to the world’ technologies you have been working on? Sound off and let us know what you think.

Take care. Talk soon. And thanks for reading.