This paper analyses research-technology (RT) emergence and management at INVAP. INVAP is an Argentinean state-owned enterprise based in Bariloche, Patagonia. Most INVAP decision-makers find it challenging to develop technology to meet client-specific needs. RTs exploit interstitial boundary-crossing knowledge. Organisational technology-rooted R&D learning can be characterised as a joint, transverse, inter-departmental and interdisciplinary process. RT-related technologies have the potential to be dis-embedded from a specific development-project and/or technological area and re-embedded in another project or area. This paper traces the historical dynamics of six RTs at INVAP. Its perspective marginalises the conventional R&D emphasis on the generation of new products and the improvement of production processes, and highlights the importance of monitoring RT emergence. It argues that technology-based product portfolio strategies can profit substantially from good RT management and planning.
Only three respondents from the first research phase were emphatic about knowledge flowing from project to project. These interviewees were contacted, at least twice, for this research project. Two were extremely thorough in describing this issue.
Only a very limited number of scientific papers were written by company members. Most of these papers are conference presentations rather than actual academic publications. The content of all these papers is directly related to INVAP lines of technological activity.
For instance, a radiating module stemming from the INVAP radars can also be found inside the SAO COM satellite Although the watt power of the radiating module of the satellite is weaker than that of the radar, a similar centralised design (of the device electronics) was used for both radiating modules.
The solar panels of a satellite should face the sun at all times during the lifetime of a satellite. An entire satellite mission can be ruined if these panels fail to link to the energy supply.
Cadmium attracts the flowing neutrons. In an emergency, the reactor main operator can put these control rods inside the reflector tank of a nuclear reactor to reduce the number of flowing neutrons.
Thermo-hydraulics refers to mass and heat being transported whereas thermal-radiation means there is no mass involved in the heat transportation. This is, basically, the main difference between the two areas.
Trading part of a knowledge base is ordinary managerial practice in biotech firms, such as BioSidus (Seijo et al., 2015). For instance, laboratory procedures to acquire bio-similar drugs can be traded between firms. Entire R&D centres and industrial plants can be purchased in the biotech field.
According to many respondents, the distinction between areas and projects can be blurred since large INVAP projects can gather a great variety of people and resources, disregarding conventional area affiliations.
Even though we requested a copy of the matrix-shaped organisational chart a number of times, we were unable to get an updated version of such diagram.
Only on extremely rare occasions, according an INVAP veteran, did the company reject a client demand. He could recall only one specific case.