#164 from R&D
Innovator Volume 4, Number 6
American Dictionary defines “forum” as a place where
public discussions are held or can take place.
From that point of view, this section of R&D
Innovator seems to be missing the target.
Perhaps it ought to be renamed "Anonymous Researcher
Complaint Letters." Authors
of many of these Forums discuss problems that could be addressed,
and solved, simply by stating what they wrote, directly
to their managers.
researchers afraid to discuss important problems with their
managers? Do they all
need an anonymous mechanism like the Forum to pass messages along?
If the answer is ‘yes,’ they
are partly responsible for their problems, since they can't
communicate with colleagues, which is what we should see managers
For instance, in R&D
Innovator Volume 4, No. 2, the anonymous Forum writer presents
arguments why he or she should attend a technical meeting that
only the supervisor attends.
Couldn’t the writer just discuss that concern with the
supervisor? If the
supervisor doesn’t agree (perhaps sufficient funds aren’t
available), I don’t see any special problems.
Are there actually companies where making such an innocuous
request would be penalized?
I can’t imagine working in such a company.
FROM THE EDITOR
Mr. Durocher is
focusing on something I didn’t expect when Forum was initiated;
that most writers would prefer to remain anonymous (however, I
know who they are). This
tells me there must be a need for anonymous “complaining.”
In fact, when I
consult with companies, often the most important information I
receive about the real
environment comes from people who want their identity concealed.
Therefore, Mr. Durocher raises an important point by asking
if researchers are afraid to discuss working problems with their
the answer is that many of them are, and that’s why I accept
Perhaps their own
managers will be
“notified” through R&D
Innovator. At the
least, complaints we publish are of general enough nature that
they will be recognizable to many managers.
I hope that some
them will be stimulated to think twice about their activities.
Anonymous comments also permit us to talk about real-world solutions
to problems in cases where authors don't want to embarrass
letters help us get to the root cause of innumerable management
problems—the lack of effective communication.
We hear, continually, the importance of good communication;
but for many people, in many organizations, it's still difficult
dictionary, “forum” is also defined as an opportunity for open
anonymous (as well as signed) Forums will induce some open
discussion in the workplace,
and help break through the many communication barriers that
inhibit productive R&D.