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

The Management of Research When Research-Technology Management Was Born

By Michael F. Wolff, Executive Editor, RTM (1983-2010)

(This throwback article appeared in RTM twice, first in 1983 and again in 2007 as part of the journal’s 50th anniversary. This year marks the 60th year that RTM has been in continuous publication. #Happy60thRTM!)

In 1958, the industrial boom fueled by the technical advances of the World War II period was only temporarily interrupted by a recession year. The earlier dramatic research advances in computers, chemistry and electronics continued to contribute strongly to the growth of R&D management as a profession—one that brought with it concerns that resonate with those that confront the profession today.

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Advancing the State of Practice

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

This issue begins RTM’s 60th continuous year of publication. Originally called Research Management, it was founded as a journal by and for practitioners of research and development in order to share lessons learned and build best practices. The journal, renamed Research-Technology Management in the 1980s, has now served several generations of R&D and innovation leaders, and it will help executives and practitioners manage through many changes in the future.

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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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