Jim Euchner, From the Editor, RTM 61.1
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
I have always been intrigued by the notion of forest succession. Following the burnout of a forest, the trees that grow are not (at first) the ones that were burned. The soil and the light are not proper for these trees. Instead, first-generation vegetation—mostly mosses and grasses—begins to grow, almost as soon as the ashes cool. Over time, as these plants grow, they change the composition of the soil, making the conditions right for a second-generation forest composed of bushes and small trees. Next, fast-growing evergreen trees take over. These trees love the sun and quickly become the dominant species. Soon, trees that thrive in the shade—the large, deciduous trees that will be the dominant species in the mature forest—begin to grow in their understory. The canopy they produce creates an environment in which the shade-intolerant pines cannot thrive; the climax forest is primarily composed of large, long-lived, shade-producing trees.
(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
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).
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.
By Jim Euchner, VP, Global Innovation, Goodyear, and RTM Editor-in-Chief
Barriers to innovation are declining. It is easier today for an innovator to get into business than it has been at any time in history. There are many reasons for this, but most are driven by some aspect of the digital revolution. Today’s digital tools help the entrepreneur on every step of his or her journey, from funding to marketing to product delivery.
By RTM guest editors Irene J. Petrick, Thierry Rayna, and Ludmila Striukova
The pursuit of intellectual property (IP) that can be protected through patents, copyrights, and trademarks has traditionally formed the cornerstone of many companies’ strategies. The general rule of thumb is that IP, when it is well managed, yields sustainable competitive advantage. Recently, however, patent trolls—companies or individuals that buy up patents in bulk—have used as a weapon the very IP that was supposed to protect companies’ core inventions and provide competitive advantage. Wielding their IP ownership, these trolls have blocked its application in new innovations.
By Jim Euchner, VP of Global Innovation, Goodyear, and RTM Editor-in-Chief
A career in R&D is an interesting one. It offers the opportunity for continuous learning, the chance to work with interesting people, and the satisfaction of creating something new. Yet there are occupational hazards, as I am reminded each year during annual review season. Basically, I’ve learned, you can’t count on being rewarded for your contributions within an appraisal year—despite the almost Herculean efforts on the part of most of those in management to assure that rewards do match performance. Then, every once in a while, sometimes when you least expect it, the rewards do come.