Top Technology Management Trends to Watch in 2017

By Greg Holden, Business Writer & Social Media Manager, Industrial Research Institute

The research working groups at the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) take a good, hard look at how they, the practitioners, not academics or theoreticians, approach the everyday management of technology innovation management at large technology companies. These members are on the front lines, doing the real work of managing R&D at some of the world’s largest, most innovative companies. The scholars and subject matter experts who are attracted to IRI, and who volunteer their time to provide support to these working groups, are also interested in the practical applications of their theories at real companies. This is the IRI crowd, and it is vibrant. So when we at IRI see a trend in our web and content analytics, we pay attention. Based on 2016 data, a few trends stood out. Continue reading

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

Building a Culture of Innovation

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

People will work long hours, climb over steep obstacles, and endure a lot of frustration to innovate if they believe they have a real chance to create something new. An organization can be said to have a culture of innovation when it supports those people and makes it possible for bold new things to happen with some regularity. Alas, in many organizations, it is almost impossible to be truly innovative. There are too many layers of organizational defense preventing it.

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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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Defining Open Innovation

By MaryAnne M. Gobble, Managing Editor, Research-Technology Management (RTM)

In the last installment of this column, I initiated a new series of topics aimed at defining the vocabulary of innovation management. The object is to look critically at the profession’s terms of art, exploring their origins and mapping their limitations, to provide new clarity, and in the process restore some of their power. By looking at the terminology at the heart of innovation management and exploring how it has emerged and evolved, perhaps we can also get a glimpse of where innovation is heading.

In the first entry in the series, we looked at the concept of disruptive innovation. This time, we’re examining another concept whose usage has become confused and, at times, diluted: open innovation (Read this column at RTM; follow RTM on Twitter @RTMJournal).

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The Medium is the Message

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

When Marshall McLuhan wrote, “The medium is the message,” he meant to emphasize the implications of any new technology (or medium) beyond the specific context of its use (or content of its message). The import of any medium inevitably goes beyond its contents to its effects on the work in which it is embedded. This message can be summarized, according to McLuhan and his son Eric, in four “laws of media”: each new technology, or “extension of man,” 1) intensifies or enhances something in the world, 2) makes something else obsolete, 3) retrieves some attribute of the past, and 4) at its extreme, reverses into a caricature of itself (McLuhan and McLuhan 1988).

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Innovating for Effectiveness: Lessons from Design Firms

By Marc H. Meyer (MIT) & Tucker J. Marion (Northeastern University)

Creating true innovation—new types of products or services that can generate entirely new streams of revenue—is arguably the best way to transcend economic cycles and achieve sustainable growth. More and more, large corporations are turning to design firms to provide this fundamental innovation. These firms have a reputation for excelling in innovation both incremental (such as a new type of packaging design) and radical (such as a new business model that can disrupt an entire industry).

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Managing Culturally Diverse Teams

When French company Groupe Bull prepared to merge with American firm Zenith Data Systems, American and French engineers working for Bull discussed the difficulties of working with each other. As the Americans saw it, their French colleagues took an “analysis paralysis” approach to problem solving: They insisted on analyzing the problem completely and correctly before taking any action. Americans, in the French engineers’ view, insisted on action from the start, often at the expense of fully understanding the problem.

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How is Your Organization Training Innovators?

Tim Michaelis, PhD Candidate, NC State, Research Associate, CIMS
Tim Michaelis, PhD Candidate, NC State, Research Associate, CIMS

 

By Tim Michaelis, PhD Candidate, NC State University, Research Associate, Center for Innovation Management Studies (tlmichae@ncsu.edu)

According to 1,500 global innovation executives, interviewed by the Boston Consulting Group in 2014, innovation is considered a top 3 priority.(1) However, 70% of these executives rated their company’s innovation capabilities as only average. With such data in mind, data that indicates a significant gap between topic importance and the skills needed to address it, I decided to find out what the biggest companies are doing to train their innovators. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Innovation training simply does not happen.

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Keep Cool and Carry On: Innovation Contests and Hershey

By Eloise Young, Ph.D., Senior Program Manager, NineSigma

Innovation contests, and their bigger counterparts, grand challenges, have become increasingly popular over the past few years. This is because they offer a way to find solutions from a global community while simultaneously positioning the sponsor as a player in the field and reinforcing the sponsor’s brand.

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