Webinar: Metrics and stage-gate development programmes
6 April 2017
2.30pm CET (Brussels, Madrid, Berlin, Rome)
1.30pm GMT (London, Dublin, Lisbon)
Presenter : Jonathan Hodges, Wave Energy Scotland
Stage-gate procedures and the metrics that underpin them have proven their worth in a range of emerging technology sectors in recent years.
Developing new technologies is inherently risky, with many failing to ever reach commercial viability. Stage-gate development programmes aim to mitigate risk through regular assessment of progress against standardised metrics for success.
This allows investors to compare competing technologies and select the best, lowest risk options for further investment and development.
During this knowledge sharing webinar, ETIP Ocean investigated the ways in which stage-gate procedures can be usefully applied to the ocean energy sector.
Jonathan Hodges, Senior Innovation Engineer at Wave Energy Scotland, introduced the theory of stage-gate gate mechanisms before outlining how they can be applied to ocean energy and relating his experience of the Wave Energy Scotland stage-gate development programme.
The session then was opened to all attendees for comments and questions.
- Developers may choose to size devices according to the available funding rather than what is best for the target environment.
- The WES programme is designed to assess technologies at both sub-system and whole-system (device) levels. The WES Novel Device call is a good example of a whole-systems approach. Sub-systems are not assessed in isolation, but as part of a whole system.
- Stage-gate programmes are typically designed to consider what a full-scale device can achieve, even if a technology is initially only demonstrated at smaller scale. When moving through stage-gates it is important to consider aspirations for future development and deployment at greater scale.
- It is a challenge to develop a system of metrics and stage-gates that gives due consideration to the wide variety of environments and markets available to marine energy technologies. There must be no built in bias towards a particular form of technology. The designers of the WES programme recognise that the wave sector will likely see a number of successful technologies, rather than a single dominant technology.
- Details of all WES metrics currently defined can be found in WES competition guidance documents on the WES website. A WES knowledge-sharing platform is currently being developed to improve public availability of WES materials.
- Metrics and stage-gate programmes are not novel in the field of engineering. Although almost all engineering sectors employ similar techniques, the aerospace sector gives a good example. Aerospace technology development involves a process of moving from preliminary design reviews to, eventually, final design reviews. Each review stage involves a well-defined set of performance measures that must be met to progress.
- Metrics and stage-gate development programmes provide the next level of detail beyond the technology readiness level (TRL) system. The TRL system shows where a technology is in the development process while metrics and stage-gates assess whether it is worth pursuing progression to the next TRL level.