6.1 Background

Decisions can be categorized as “unstructured” and “structured”.  Intuitive decisions by executives are typically unstructured.  By contrast, a structured decision is typically defined as one where the evaluation criteria, the decision data, and the decision process are all pre-defined.

Evaluating R&D or innovation-related projects pose three specific challenges:

  • Selection decisions require making assumptions about the future
  • Considerable technical expertise is typically required to assess available data and apply evaluation criteria
  • A method must exist to efficiently integrate the insights of multiple experts

The ProGrid® methodology was specifically designed to address these challenges. It was developed by Dr. Clement (Clem) W. Bowman, with the assistance of other members of the ProGrid ® team, including Ron McCullough.  The principles behind ProGrid ® are discussed in Intangibles: Exploring the Full Depth of Issues, by C.W. Bowman, published in 2005.

The ProGrid® Decision Methodology was initially developed to assist in making resource allocation decisions in an innovation / R&D context, building on Clem Bowman’s experience as Chair of the Alberta Government’s Technology and Research Advisory Committee (where he coordinated the technology efforts of some 14 government departments and agencies) and as President of the Alberta Research Council – a government-owned applied research and development corporation. Dr. Bowman oversaw a quadrupling of non-government contract revenues from $5 million per year to $20 million annually and was the Vice-President responsible for the Research Centre at Esso Petroleum Canada. Dr. Bowman was the founding chairman of the Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority (AOSTRA), a crown corporation of the Alberta Government. Progrid  was founded as a business organization in 1996 by Dr. Bowman and Ron McCullough.

Since then, ProGrid® has become the most widely adopted methodology in Canada for making R&D and innovation resource allocation decisions.  It has supported the evaluation and allocation of about  $10 billion in research and innovation funding by federal and provincial departments and agencies.  Public and private organizations across Canada use ProGrid® to establish and optimize their peer & expert review processes as well as facilitate their decision making and audit trail.

ERDP™+ can also support point-rated criteria, separately or in parallel to use of ProGrid®.