by Edward Bernstein, IRI president; published in RTM, Vol 60, 6
Five years ago, IRI celebrated its 75th anniversary by looking back over the accomplishments of the Institute and its members and envisioning what the next 75 years will bring. While much has changed in the field of innovation management over IRI’s lifespan, these shifts are modest compared to those that are coming. IRI is no stranger to change; in fact, we champion it by facilitating the incredible innovation endeavors of our members and by making smart pivots as an organization.
Through the decades, our organization has kept a steadfast focus on creating value that keeps pace with the continuously evolving needs of our members. The IRI of the 20th century focused on the leader of the central R&D laboratory; while the company was the unit of membership, our programs and services were geared toward providing value to the Chief Technology Officer. This value centered on the relationships developed at semiannual meetings held at top-tier venues. As R&D has become more distributed, IRI has evolved along with it, creating new ways to serve the new value creation units emerging in member companies. These new avenues included our networks, more open online content, and an increase in the number of complimentary registrations included with organizational memberships, to encourage broader participation in our network and ROR programs.
Now, our brand and the experience we offer need to catch up with that evolution, to communicate a cohesive vision that is relevant to the times and strategically mapped to how companies will realize growth into the 21st century. As we prepare to lead into the future, we know that the functions we support are more often referred to as innovation than as R&D—a permanent change that is more than semantic. Furthermore, the term industrial research, the core of our name, is anachronistic, belying our forward-thinking approach and creating a barrier to the organization’s adoption by “new economy” industries. For these reasons, the Industrial Research Institute is repositioning itself in the market with a new name: the Innovation Research Interchange. This change reflects our new value proposition, better defines the unique collaborative experiences we foster, and aligns with how our members achieve growth.
Veterans of IRI meetings are largely familiar with our brand, our value statement, our mission and, in general, who we are. They recognize that what we offer is unique, that the value gained by attending our meetings is unparalleled in terms of gaining high level contacts, networking with people who face similar challenges across every industry, and learning (as well as creating) genuine best practices in a field where best practices are tough to pin down. A few of these veterans are aware of the organizational modifications we’re currently undertaking, but most are not.
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.
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.
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.
By Jim Euchner, VP, Global Innovation, Goodyear, and RTMEditor-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.
I’m a lucky guy! I have worked for very large high-tech manufacturing companies, led software company public offerings both in the U.S and in Europe, and co-founded my own company. Plus, I am faculty for the National Science Foundation’sI-Corp program.
Some of you may know I-Corps as the result of an audacious initiative between your federal government and Steve Blank, serial-entrepreneur turned academic, and the thinker who launched the Lean Startup movement. Continue reading →
By Tamara Carleton, CEO and Founder, Innovation Leadership Board, LLC; William Cockayne, CEO and Founder, Lead|X; and, Yuriko Sawatani, Professor, Center for Leadership Strategy, Waseda University
Whether it’s open innovation, portfolio management, or customer-centered innovation, implementing any new innovation framework often means changing an organization’s culture. This special issue focuses on the underlying issues that frequently lead good initiatives to stumble: How do you change culture to support change?
Earlier this week, the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) signed a letter addressed to Congress regarding administrative changes that affect the ability of Federal laboratory professionals to attend scientific and technical conferences. IRI is responding to the crisis such travel restrictions cause to the scientific and technical community and to our nation’s technological competitiveness.