Date: 13 October 2022By

The WAITRO Online Benchmarking System, A Vital Tool in RTO Process Improvement Initiatives

Helping WAITRO members to improve their practices and performance

Since the start of 2022, the WAITRO team has been working on an online benchmarking system to enable WAITRO members to improve their RTO management processes and performance.

Why is this important? RTOs (Research and Technolgy Organizations) are special in their construction and often it is not relevant to compare their processes and performance with private businesses, universities, or public institutions. WAITRO members benefit more from a comparison with similar RTOs in their region and/or in other countries. This is what the WAITRO Benchmarking Project supports.

The project builds on the work conducted by David Grier, Chief Strategist (Retired), Innovation Saskatchewan and colleagues between 1994 and 1998, with subsequent updates in 2003 and 2008, and is an upgraded online version of the paper-based version used then. David Grier has played a vital role in the updating of the RTO management structure, process, and practice descriptions as well as performance indicator descriptions and instructions for RTOs.

WAITRO Online Benchmarking System

The Online Benchmarking System Structure

Most of the original benchmarking structure is still in place and consists of these eight main process areas:

  • RTO Governance
  • Financial Management
  • RTO Service
  • Business Development
  • Organizational Management
  • Project Management
  • Capacity Building
  • Personnel Management

New elements have been introduced, however, to mirror technological developments, and current realities and requirements for RTOs, a total of 13 performance indicators have been developed, many of which carry over from the original model.

It is the combination of performance indicator data and process practice selections that will allow us to compare practices across participating RTOs. This allows us to indicate for individual processes which practices deliver the best performance, and to consequently recommend to participating RTOs which processes they should consider adjusting their practices to achieve better performance.

Tests, Improvements and Results

JITRI and a software development team have built an online version with all the necessary logic and integrated calculations required for a coherent, well-performing benchmarking system that will deliver clear but anonymous comparisons of RTO data according to types. The project has been led by Dong Chuqiao, a senior specialist in the WAITRO Secretariat, China office, who will also attend the WAITRO Summit 2022 and run the workshop on Benchmarking to Identify Best Practices in RTO Management together with me, Knud Erik Hilding-Hamann, senior specialist at Danish Technological Institute (DTI).

During the preliminary testing of the new online version of the benchmarking system, we have received valuable test feedback from the WAITRO Regional Focal Points (RFPs) and members including LEITAT, TISTR, CTA, DTI, RSS and SIRDC. This feedback has led to significant adjustments and improvements to the online benchmarking system which is now being implemented.

The work on the online benchmarking system is now at a stage where the system is ready to be released in November for WAITRO members to register and enter their performance and practice data. The value of the benchmarking system is directly correlated to the number of RTOs that participate. The higher the number of participating RTOs, the better the practice and performance comparisons available to all RTOs will become. With good performance comparisons, RTOs will receive vital process and practice improvement recommendations covering those process areas with the most potential to improve their own management.

It is our hope, therefore, that as many RTOs as possible will grab the opportunity to use the online benchmarking system as an important tool in their process improvement plans.

The Launch of the Online Benchmarking System at the WAITRO Summit

The workshop on the online benchmarking system at the upcoming WAITRO Summit, taking place in person on 14-15 November 2022 in Cape Town, will be the first of several knowledge exchange events to build on data submitted from RTOs with the aim of helping members to improve their practices and performance.

About the Author

Knud Erik Hilding-Hamann, Senior Specialist, Danish Technological Institute (DTI) – has been with DTI for almost 25 years and has held management positions before turning his focus on innovation and sustainability R&D and advisory services. Knud Erik has previously on behalf of WAITRO conducted workshops, webinars and benchmarking of RTO SME innovation services and has been part of the team developing the WAITRO benchmarking system.

Knud Erik Hilding Hamann

During the second day at the WAITRO Summit 2022, Knud Erik Hilding-Hamann is going to participate and organize the Workshop in Benchmarking to Identify Best RTO Management Practices. This in person workshop will be a excelent opportunity to get a closer look about the implementation process of this project.

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About the Author: WAITRO

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The World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO) is a global membership-based association of research organizations, universities, and innovation stakeholders. WAITRO provides mechanisms and support for its members and partners to connect, share, inspire, and collaborate to solve global challenges and contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.