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.
By Jim Euchner, Editor-in-Chief, RTM
Constraints are funny things. They can box you in, or they can inspire you.
A Shakespearean sonnet is constrained by the dimensions of its form: 14 lines, iambic pentameter, clear rhyme scheme, closing couplet. Yet it has consistently led to beautiful poetry. Has the form contributed to the beauty, or would it have emerged just as beautifully from blank verse?
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.
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?
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.
By Scott Mathews, Technical Fellow in the Chief Engineer’s office at Boeing Research and Technology and co–guest editor of this special issue of RTM.
It is difficult to understand why doing portfolio management well is so challenging. Shouldn’t it be as simple as deciding on a few attributes, like net present value and time to market, lining up all the opportunities and ranking them on those attributes, then funding the best of the bunch until you run out of money? If life were so simple, we would all have 2.5 children and live happily ever after. Clearly, it’s not. Continue reading
By Jim Euchner, RTM Editor-in-Chief
It is perhaps a tautology to say that innovation is change management. By definition, innovation is giving something new to the world, and accepting something new requires some level of change. We often think of ourselves not as change agents, however, but as creators, inventors, and designers caught in a web of resistances that are largely beyond our control. We might be more satisfied and successful if we thought of ourselves formally (and perhaps primarily) as change agents.
By Greg Holden, Business Writer
Today’s business executives are still adjusting to the behavior of the rising generation of leaders. Whether called “Gen Y’ers,” “millennials,” or “the trophy generation,” these individuals bring with them an unprecedented approach to employment that often carries the negative moniker of entitlement. But these millennials do represent the next wave; people who, 15 to 20 years from now, will hold top posts in the world’s corporations.
By Ed Bernstein, IRI President, and Greg Holden, Business Writer
In general, the seventeenth and eighteenth century period known as the Enlightenment is considered a time when a new methodology was being imposed onto governments and accepted by societies across Europe and the “New World.” The parts making up this methodology included the use of reason, skepticism, and the scientific method in order to challenge long-established practices stemming from traditions, superstitions and religions that stretched back into antiquity. However, enlightenment itself is not about merely changing the way one looks at the world, as the Age of Enlightenment philosophers set out to do, it is also about destruction. Enlightenment is the dismantling and discarding of old, deep-seated beliefs in exchange for new ideas which are better supported by the available evidence.