Failing Brilliantly

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

The mantra “fail fast, fail often” has almost become cliché in industry, yet it is a concept that innovation leaders still struggle to implement effectively at their firms. It is not hard to see why. Failure is difficult for everyone, even when they are told it’s no big deal. Tony Singarayar, Founding Partner of Analogy Partners, LLC, touched on this during a panel discussion at an IRI meeting when he spoke about the problems that can arise when innovation leaders get moved up from a research position to a management role. He said, “What’s the cost of failing? Even though the company says, ‘Oh, fail fast, fail often. No problem. You’re an investment not a failure.’ It feels like a failure when you fail… so how do we really make these people feel like investments and not failures?”

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An Innovation Career

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

“If you’re in permanent beta in your career, twenty years of experience actually is twenty years of experience because each year will be marked by new, enriching challenges and opportunities.”

―Reid Hoffman, The Startup of You

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Fun and Challenge

By Jim Euchner, VP of Global Innovation, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., RTM Editor-in-Chief

My grandfather was an inventor. He worked at Kodak during its golden years, where he invented a variety of still camera devices, including an early stereo-imaging camera. When I got to know him, he was already retired, but he was still inventing. I remember, in particular, a sundial he designed and built that was precisely engineered to give the proper time in Peterborough, New Hampshire. I recall checking the time on it one sunny summer day and finding that it was correct. This desire of my grandfather to make such a device was interesting to me, and a little strange. Where had this obsession come from? I had not yet come to know the mind of an inventor.

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4 Reasons to Attend IRI’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Person

Conferences offer an opportunity to learn many things you otherwise wouldn’t learn. They do this simply by exposing you to ideas and people you might not otherwise interact with but which may share things in common with your line of work. Most conferences focus on a particular industry or specific trade within an industry. The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) is different. Where most associations or societies address the issues of a particular industry, IRI addresses the complex variety of issues associated with a job function that spans all industries: how to manage the research and development (R&D) function.

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The 3 “Shu-Be’s” for Better Talent Management

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

As an American with a non-American spouse, I hold that unique position of being called out when I am not speaking proper English. In its place, I am told, is “American Midwest English,” a form of easily understood mumbling—if you also happen to be American. For instance, I was asked once if my car was in the parking lot outside a friend’s place where we were gathering, I responded with a shrug, saying that it “should be.” Only it came out, as it does for many Americans, “shu-be.” My non-American spouse, who was there with me, smiled and sang the words “shoo-be-doobie-dooo.” She was very amused with herself.

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Where Do You Live?

By Jim Euchner, VP of Global Innovation, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., RTM Editor-in-Chief

Where do you live? By this, I mean where do you spend your time?

I realized recently that many of the people who coexist with me in my physical world actually live in different places. I spend much of my workday in web conferences. Many teams in my organization communicate among themselves using WhatsApp—they live chunks of their work lives in WhatsApp. I connect with my wife face to face or by phone. One of my sons doesn’t answer his phone; he only texts. Another lives his social life within his multiplayer online video games; the game space is where he connects with friends to get together in physical space.

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New Products: What Distinguishes the Winners?

(This article is a throwback that was originally published in 1990 by Robert G. Cooper in Research-Technology Management (RTM). This article was the winner of the 1991 Maurice Holland Award. For a more recent look at Dr. Cooper’s writings in RTM, check out Vol. 60, No. 1 #Happy60thRTM!)

By Robert G. Cooper

An accurate understanding of why new products succeed or fail is vital to improving new product performance:  Continue reading

Managing Open Innovation

chesbrough_henry(This is a throwback article from the January-February 2004 issue of Research-Technology Management and is the second publication made by Henry Chesbrough on the topic of Open Innovation after publishing his book in which he coined the term. It is adapted from a presentation he delivered at IRI’s 2003 Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, CO. For the latest RTM article by Henry Chesbrough, check out the January-February 2017 issue, open to the public for a limited time!)

By Henry Chesbrough

Not long ago, internal research and development was viewed as a strategic asset, and even a barrier to competitive entry in many industries. Only large companies with significant resources and long-term research programs could compete. Research-based companies like DuPont, Merck, IBM, GE, and AT&T did the most research in their respective industries. And they earned most of the profits as well. Rivals who sought to unseat these firms had to ante up their own resources, and create their own labs, if they were to have any chance against these leaders. Today, the former leading industrial enterprises are encountering remarkably strong competition from many newer companies.   Continue reading

The 3 Big Myths of Sparking Creativity at Work

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

How do you spark creativity at work? This is a question as old as business itself and a topic of extensive research that has yet to be answered conclusively. What has been turned up through decades of study, however, is at least a cursory rebuttal of several big myths about how to encourage workers to be more creative. In a nutshell, creativity cannot be forced, only coaxed out of its hiding place with proper incentives.

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50 Years of Change in Industrial Research and Technology Management

By Charles F. Larson

(This throwback article originally appeared in the 2007 January-February issue of RTM as part of the journal’s 50th anniversary.)

Leaving Purdue in the spring of 1958, I had no idea that an organization called the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) had just launched the first issue of a new journal called Research Management (RM). The chair of the Editorial Advisory Board explained that this new publication was initiated because “we need one place to turn for the latest ideas regarding research management.” RM was, of course, sent to all Representatives of IRI, but it was also intended for use by research leaders in university and government labs, with an annual subscription price of $7.50. At that time, industrial R&D investment was $3.6 billion, total R&D investment in the United States was $10 billion, and the average salary of an R&D professional was $9,000. Continue reading