The project goals for this week are to create the RFP document, and to establish how you will score the proposals that vendors might submit to you. As we discussed previously, you need to establish the scoring methods before you send the RFP documents to the prospective vendors. To do this, you need to be sure you have asked the vendors for all the necessary features you require, and that you have given them accurate performance measures that you can live with. Don't be unrealistic in what you expect the new system to do, but don't be too generous either. If you set your acceptance score too low, you are likely to receive a set of responses that will only provide acceptable performance, and none will provide the feeling of wonder that a new technological marvel should provide.
The following list is a general set of guidelines about scoring responses
to your RFP. You may want to add more guidelines to the list that are
specific to the RFP you are producing. In a large company, it might happen
that the people doing the scoring will not be same people who produced
the RFP. If this is so, you must take special care to make sure that each
group has the same understanding of the goals of the RFP and of the scoring
Let's change to the larger topic for a bit, by returning to what has become our text for this course Connections, by James Burke. One of the points that Mr. Burke makes several times is that innovation does not start from nothing. It often starts with an inspiration that tells tells the innovator that something can be done with a new technology, if only we could invent it, or something can be done with a new application of existing technologies, which makes the point that innovation often takes place because it occurs at an opportune moment.
In week six, we talked about the use of gunpowder leading to guncotton, which led to celluloid, and so on. In episode seven of Connections2, Mr. Burke revisits those ideas, and illustrates them for us with statistics on overhunting elephants, which led to the need for a substitute for ivory. He further tells us that the substitute was used in false teeth, which sometimes exploded. I suppose they needed better quality control in manufacturing than in using the celluloid, where it was a greater danger.
I have set a link for you to the episode in question, but you may be able to watch it from this page if you like:
I am not as thrilled with the half hour version of Connections as I was with the hour long episodes in the original series, but they do have their charms. Having enjoyed some of that episode at least, let's review a few of Mr. Burke's points:
The larger lesson to take from Mr. Burke's examples this time is to be ready to look for a way to combine technologies that we have to make a new one that we do not yet have. Having done that, we need to find a way to use our new technology to benefit ourselves, our customers, or our fellow human beings in some way that has not been done before.