4 Reasons to Attend IRI’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Person

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.

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The 3 Big Myths of Sparking Creativity at Work

By Greg Holden, Business Writer & Social Media Manager, IRI

How do you spark creativity at work? This is a question as old as business itself and a topic of extensive research that has yet to be answered conclusively. What has been turned up through decades of study, however, is at least a cursory rebuttal of several big myths about how to encourage workers to be more creative. In a nutshell, creativity cannot be forced, only coaxed out of its hiding place with proper incentives.

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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

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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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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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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Here’s How to Keep Your Top Technical Talent from Leaving

Retaining top technical talent is a challenge for organizations everywhere. According to the Industrial Research Institute’s (IRI) annual R&D trends surveys, which ask R&D managers to identify what keeps them up at night, retention of R&D professionals is typically reported as a top five concern among R&D managers at firms of all sizes. While a one-size-fits-all approach to rewarding and retaining technical employees doesn’t exist, general patterns do emerge from the research IRI conducts into the topic. Here are the top four “best practices” in rewarding technical talent found by today’s leading practitioners of R&D and innovation management. Continue reading

Why IRI Members Struggle with Lean Startup in Their Companies

Guest Contributor: John Bacon, CEO, iP2Biz

John Bacon, CEO, iP2Biz
John Bacon, CEO, iP2Biz

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’s I-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

Declining Barriers to Innovation

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.

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