How Do You Reward Innovators?

By Greg Holden, Business Writer & Social Media Manager, IRI

In his keynote address at an IRI Annual Meeting, Bernie Meyerson, Chief Innovation Officer at IBM, said “the talented techies are the rock stars; these are the people that make it work. If you don’t value them, you lose them.” Highlighting the focus of organizations to favor non-technical employees, Meyerson was making the point that innovation comes from the technical people. And, without an effort to make the people that innovate happy, the entire organization suffers. IRI members talk about this. It’s one of the subjects discussed frequently in our Community Forum in myriad ways. Continue reading

The Impact of Corporate Splits on R&D

Almost two years ago an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal decrying the rise of corporate splits and the seeming increase in organizations seeking ways to innovate at faster speeds. Today this trend appears to be holding. Xerox, Timken, Armstrong, Hewlett-Packard, to name a few recent splits. There are also big mergers that break up large companies and form new ones, such as the merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont. And, lest we not forget, there are also those organizations whose purpose seems to be to create spinoffs–companies like Danaher and Royal DSM.

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Here’s How to Keep Your Top Technical Talent from Leaving

Retaining top technical talent is a challenge for organizations everywhere. According to the Industrial Research Institute’s (IRI) annual R&D trends surveys, which ask R&D managers to identify what keeps them up at night, retention of R&D professionals is typically reported as a top five concern among R&D managers at firms of all sizes. While a one-size-fits-all approach to rewarding and retaining technical employees doesn’t exist, general patterns do emerge from the research IRI conducts into the topic. Here are the top four “best practices” in rewarding technical talent found by today’s leading practitioners of R&D and innovation management. Continue reading

Shaping Innovation Success

By Jim Euchner, Editor-in-Chief, Research-Technology Management

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of DEC

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Opportunity Finding

By Jim Euchner, Editor-in-Chief, Research-Technology Management Journal

The medium is the message.

                  – Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan theorized that every new technology (or medium) carries with it an implicit meaning, a set of implications that go beyond its direct, utilitarian purpose. The meaning of the technology plays out over time and shifts the ways that we think about and interact with the world. Thus, technology not only fills needs in today’s world, but also sows the seeds of new needs and desires.

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Occupational Hazards

By Jim Euchner, VP of Global Innovation, Goodyear, and RTM Editor-in-Chief

A career in R&D is an interesting one. It offers the opportunity for continuous learning, the chance to work with interesting people, and the satisfaction of creating something new. Yet there are occupational hazards, as I am reminded each year during annual review season. Basically, I’ve learned, you can’t count on being rewarded for your contributions within an appraisal year—despite the almost Herculean efforts on the part of most of those in management to assure that rewards do match performance. Then, every once in a while, sometimes when you least expect it, the rewards do come.

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IRI2038: A Blueprint for Developing Africa?

By Greg Holden, Business Writer & Social Media Manager, IRI

By planning for a possible future, do we inevitably allow for that future to come true? Take one of the foresight scenarios from the IRI2038 Futures Project. It’s called “Africa Leapfrogs Developed Markets” and it anticipates a time, 25 years from now, when the African economy will accelerate in growth and dynamism beyond the developed world at present. How could this happen given what we see from the African continent today?

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Innovation Culture and Open Space Meetings

By Jim Euchner, VP of Global Innovation at Goodyear and Editor-in-Chief of Research-Technology Management (RTM)

Everyone files out of the meeting room. The senior R&D leadership team has just reviewed the plan for the coming year, the budget to support it, and the results of the employee engagement survey. A few questions, invariably respectful, follow the prepared presentations. As the staff leaves, there are scattered quiet discussions about the survey, which reinforced everyone’s sense that employees are strongly engaged with their work, but which also surfaced an inexplicable (to the leadership) lack of trust for the leaders.

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Magic and Innovation

By Jim Euchner, VP of Global Innovation at Goodyear and Editor-in-Chief of Research-Technology Management (RTM)

“Any sufficiently new technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

—Arthur C. Clarke

Innovation is a magical thing. It transforms dross into gold, puts nature at our command, creates something new where there was once nothing. Throughout history, magicians (and charlatans) have used new technology to create illusions for delight and profit. An early use of the electromagnet, for example, was part of an act demonstrating the super-strength of a magician, who could lift an object that even a strongman could not budge. A dash of psychology, a dollop of sleight of hand, and a big dose of showmanship can turn even a simple technological effect into a powerful illusion.

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