There is no shortage of books and other publications focusing on traditional risk management. But few publications address the peculiar aspects of innovation and design in the realization of high-tech products. One exception is Taking Technical Risks. This book is aimed at the venture capitalists, business leaders, and technical executives who are trying to understand the risks that are acceptable in bringing new high-tech products to market.
Essentially, this book is a collection of papers that draw heavily from a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report. Among other topics, the NIST report homes in on decision-making techniques for early-stage technology-based projects. It doesn't provide the mathematical rigor of the books that address gaming theory and decision-making (e.g, Luce's and Rafifa's early work). Yet Taking Technical Risks does provide the connection between market and technology risks. It also covers timely topics like when the government should act to reduce the technical risks that are associated with innovative projects.
Aside from its readability, one of the biggest pluses of this book is its use of example projects and case studies. There are no collapsing bridges, bursting dams, or exploding rockets in this work. Instead, it is replete with examples of high-tech successes and failures from companies that are attempting to bring forth new products.
Taking Technical Risks: How Innovators, Managers, and Investors Manage Risk in High-Tech Innovations by Lewis M. Branscomb and Philip E. Auerswald is available from MIT Press (www.mitpress.mit.edu) for $19.95. The ISBN is 0-262-52419-8.