TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community



Research-on-Research Reports [Research Technology Management]
[December 28, 2012]

Research-on-Research Reports [Research Technology Management]

(Research Technology Management Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Twelve Research-on-Research working groups held meetings at the 2012 IRI Annual Meeting. Eight groups report on the status of their work, describe ongoing initiatives, and summarize preliminary results.

"Research on research" is just what it sounds like: an examination of the current research on a given topic-in this case, with an eye toward identifying best practices for the effective management of research and development. The Research-on-Research (ROR) Committee is IRI's "laboratory for innovation management." IRI's first ROR subcommittee was appointed by the Board of Directors in 1968, after an unsuccessful effort to convince the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish research-on-research centers at U.S. universities. Convinced that the concept was important enough to be carried forward even without NSF support, the Board made ROR a regular standing committee in 1971, setting the stage for an ongoing program of robust, member-supported research studies. Currently, the ROR leadership team includes committee chair Louis Gritzo (FM Global); vice chairs Rich Antcliff(NASA), H. R. "Pent" Penton (Emeritus), and Robert Cook (Emeritus); and Board liaison Raymond Cosner (Boeing).

The ROR committee supports a slate of working groups, each focused on a particular area of concern identified by members. Each working group brings together industry leaders in research, technology, and innovation to collaborate, share experiences, and research case studies in pursuit of best practices around an issue of common concern. The result is leading-edge research that provides a broad perspective for enhancing the effectiveness of technological innovation and leverages the expertise of IRI members from across industries. The ROR experience provides working group participants an invaluable learning experience and a wealth of network connections.

Individual ROR groups are initiated by members who express an interest in a particular area. Volunteers define each project and set each group's research agenda. Project leaders may invite experts from outside of IRI, such as academic researchers or consultants, to participate in the group. These outside participants provide additional subject matter expertise and can help facilitate the timely completion of the project.

In 2010, IRI introduced a new structure for ROR work; depending on the scope of the project, groups may meet for three hours, three months, three meetings, or three years. ROR working groups usually meet face to face three times per year-once in February, once at IRI's Annual Meeting in May, and once at the Member Summit in October. Working groups continue their work between meetings, either virtually or through additional face-to-face meetings.

All projects are open to all members, and a member may join a project at any stage in its life cycle. ROR working groups offer an unparalleled opportunity for learning and networking, while also allowing participants to give back to the community by contributing expertise and leadership. For more information about these groups or the ROR program, visit the IRI website at , and click on Research-on-Research under the Collaboration Center menu.

For more information about joining or starting a working group, contact Jennifer Blenkle at .

Accelerating Conventional Innovation ROR Profile Accelerating Conventional Innovation Identifying and eliminating innovation stall points to accelerate conventional innovation Goal: To capture successes in eliminating Stage-Gate stall points and accelerating new product development and innovation processes among IRI member organizations.

Cochairs: John Spero (Praxair), Ken Davis (Kraton), David Jarus (PolyOne) EAG Mentor: Robin Karol For more information, contact John Spero at

Over 30 years have passed since Stage-Gate transformed innovation. The step-by-step process for reviewing new projects allowed organizations to recognize risk factors and accelerate, delay, or kill projects based on feasibility and risk/reward metrics. However, Stage-Gate, like any other process, is subject to stall points-specific moments in the process when delays are likely. To accelerate innovation and move new products through the system, stall points must be eliminated.

The Accelerating Conventional Innovation (ACI) ROR group was formed in 2011 to understand how IRI member companies have identified and addressed stall points in their Stage-Gate innovation processes. Our goals are to identify best practices for managing roadblocks and speeding the decision-making process. In place of the usual one-time deliverable, the ACI ROR group will provide ongoing one-page updates of successes in eliminating stall points in new product development processes. We are also interested in developing an active database of stall point stories, which would be available via the IRI website.

Current Actions To date, the group has collected 20 success stories from IRI member companies who have accelerated their conventional innovation processes. The group met at the 2012 Annual Meeting to collect further case studies and to begin the process of revising those already collected, as a first step toward producing an article for RTM later this year.

As an example of our work, one of the case studies describes how a $3-billion business-to-business safety products and services company adjusted its Stage-Gate process to move lower-risk projects through the system more quickly. Senior managers were not differentiating between riskier and less-risky projects; all projects were subjected to an extensive five-stage review process, regardless of risk outlook. This had slowed the entire innovation process. To eliminate this roadblock, the company introduced one- and three-stage alternative reviews and organized different levels of gatekeepers, with higher-risk projects and greater investments requiring higher-level gatekeepers. Other organizations may be able to speed up their innovation processes by accelerating decision points, allowing fewer gates for projects with lower risk.

Next Steps The ACI team will hold ROR working group sessions at each future IRI meeting to collect more success stories. These stories will be published on IRI's website. To take part in this project or to offer your own stall point story, please contact John Spero at

Accessing Internal Knowledge ROR Profile Accessing Internal Knowledge Examining practices that facilitate the exchange of tacit knowledge across boundaries within an organization.

Goal: To address companies' emerging needs to capture and preserve internal knowledge by investigating various methods and identifying best practices.

Cochairs: Terry Fetterhoff(Roche), Natalie Schoch (Kellogg), Steve Repinec (Colgate-Palmolive) Subject Matter Expert: Robert McNamee (Temple University) For more information, contact Robert McNamee at or Natalie Schoch at .

Before any organization can dig into its knowledge pool and ascertain its level of understanding on any given subject, it needs to have in place a mechanism for knowledge transfer. What happens, though, when critical segments of an organization's knowledge are not codified in a formalized system but reside in its workers' heads and hands The Accessing Internal Knowledge ROR group was formed to help IRI firms understand what organizational practices facilitate the exchange of tacit knowledge across organizational boundaries. It is taken as a foundational premise that a well-functioning learning organization should have in place a set of practices to enable the transfer of various forms of knowledge. Often such a knowledge transfer apparatus is built for the purpose of implementing best practices, but it might also be leveraged for driving innovation. In this project, we are working to identify those best practices as well as the types of knowledge transferred, whether tacit or explicit, organizational or cultural. We are also interested in identifying the barriers to knowledge transfer and the media through which such knowledge is transferred. Finally, we are developing a maturity model for organizational learning.

Research Areas The group was launched in 2011 in response to survey results from the Collaboration Continuum ROR group that revealed that although organizations typically do institute knowledge-capturing initiatives, these programs are frequently undertaken too late to be truly effective. Moreover, the knowledge lost by late or absent attempts at capture is often tacit in nature-that is, context specific, uncodified (and possibly uncodifiable), and difficult to communicate. The group has therefore sought to focus its work on tacit knowledge, seeking to identify ways in which organizations can capture this knowledge, common barriers to its transfer, and best practices for overcoming those barriers.

A variety of resources are being accessed to accomplish these goals. An initial survey was sent to IRI members that identified types of knowledge-sharing activities within organizations. In several working groups at ROR meetings, we have developed a list of barriers to knowledge transfer and identified which practices are best at overcoming which barriers.

Progress Our initial surveys, described in last year's progress report, reveal that it is still unclear whether existing knowledgecapture practices are designed in ways that are consistent with the organization's overall objectives, or if they are assembled into a systematic program for accessing internal tacit knowledge.

At the 2012 ROR and Annual Meetings, the group considered a theoretical model that breaks tacit knowledge down into four parts: embrained knowledge (conceptual abilities), embodied knowledge (individual knowledge and skills), embedded knowledge (routines, transactive memory, and shared understanding), and encultured knowledge (shared values). Barriers to knowledge flow were discussed and categorized as well. We also began discussions about a maturity model linking particular practices with an organization's level of development in knowledge capture and knowledge management.

Next Steps We have compiled a working list of knowledge-capture practices currently being implemented by IRI member companies and seek input from member companies to help identify others. As examples of current practices, we have identified internal corporate universities, R&D fairs, communities of practice, networks, job rotations, temporary assignments, mentorships and apprenticeships, idea banks, cross-functional teams, expatriate/impatriate programs, post-project reviews, continuous improvement programs, and brainstorming sessions. If your organization knows of any other such programs aimed at delivering an effective method for accessing internal tacit knowledge, we would appreciate such input at our next meeting.

Each practice has been categorized as internal (gathering knowledge exclusively from within the company) or extracurricular (capturing knowledge generated outside the company, through networks and partnerships), designed to maintain a status quo or to facilitate change, and designed to travel across a barrier or intended to break it down. From this information and additional input from companies at the Member Summit, we will develop a maturity model that can be used to identify an organization's place on the learning practice spectrum.

Contact Natalie Schoch ( ) if you would like to participate in the study.

Business Model Innovation Challenges ROR Profile Business Model Innovation Challenges Working to increase the probability of success for innovation projects that involve new or modified business models Goal: To identify the challenges associated with business model innovation and create tools to manage these challenges and enable success in innovation outside the core.

Cochairs: Charles Johnson-Bey (Lockheed Martin), Norman Golm (Regal Beloit), John Thomas (Regal Beloit) EAG Mentor: Ian Elsum Subject Matter Experts: Heidi Bertels (College of Staten Island, CUNY), Mark Johnson (Innosight), Peter Koen (Stevens Institute), Larry Schmitt (The Inovo Group) For more information, contact Charles Johnson-Bey at

Christensen's model, which describes "two types of disruptive innovations: low-end [i.e., low price] and new market" (Christensen, Roth, and Anthony xvii), is the most widely used model for disruptive breakthrough innovation. However, some cases-Apple's iPod, new digital advertising channels, and digital photography, for example-do not seem to fall into either of the two categories of this model. This working group was established to better understand how and why innovation occurs in such cases.

Breakthrough innovation projects were defined as those that involve a new value network or a lower than normal financial return, or both. Such innovation projects are "outside the core." Seven case studies of successful and less successful innovation projects that involved a new value network were carried out in IRI member companies. Analysis of these case studies showed that the difficulties companies experience in innovating outside their core are rooted in the challenges of changing business models. This led to a major reorientation of the working group in 2011 toward understanding the challenges of business model innovation.

To date, there have been two RTM articles based on this group's prior work: * Koen, P. A., Bertels, H. M. J., and Elsum, I. R. 2011. The three faces of business model innovation: Challenges for established firms. Research-Technology Management 54(3): 52-59.

* Koen, P. A., Bertels, H. M. J., Elsum, I. R., Orroth, M., and Tollett, B. L. 2010. Breakthrough innovation dilemmas. Research-Technology Management 53(6): 48-51.

Current Activity The ROR working group session at IRI's 2012 Annual Meeting was aimed at understanding the relative importance of the challenges faced by companies innovating outside their core or undertaking innovation projects requiring a new business model. Each participant described the challenges for their company. Challenges mentioned were discussed and grouped under five themes. Participants then voted on the relative importance of these themes, producing a ranked list: 1. Validating new business model projects; 2. Using financial metrics, such as sales revenue, to assess the success of business-model innovations; 3. Building awareness of the need for business model innovation; 4. Designing and developing a business model as part of an innovation project; and 5. Getting C-suite endorsement of projects requiring new business models.

These themes will be used to guide the formulation of our next work program, which will aim to develop tools and metrics through working meetings and case analysis. The tools emerging from this process will be used to assess when a new business model is needed and at what point changes in a business model cause problems for a project and to facilitate managing innovation that involves changing an established business model.

Next Steps Additional case studies are needed to increase the robustness of our results. In particular, we need additional active members-participants from IRI member companies who are grappling with innovation outside the core and are able to participate in working meetings, both at and between IRI meetings. We also need more companies to contribute case studies. Case study data are collected via one-hour interviews with approximately six people knowledgeable about a specific project. We are especially interested in companies that can provide paired cases-one successful project and one that was less successful. Participating companies will receive feedback based on the case analyses.

Those interested in participating should contact Charles Johnson-Bey at .

References Christensen , C. M. , Roth , E. A. , and Anthony , S. D. 2004 . Seeing What's Next: Using Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change . Cambridge, MA : Harvard Business School Press, 2004 .

Early Identification of Disruptive Technology ROR Profile Early Identification of Disruptive Technology Seeking a process to identify disruptive technologies before they happen Goal: To document the most effective processes for identifying disruptive technology early enough that businesses can exploit the opportunity or prepare a defense.

Cochairs: Louise Quigley (Moen), Joseph George (Kellogg), George Wofford (Sealed Air), Steve Prumo (Energizer) EAG Mentor: Bob Wikman Subject Matter Experts: Jack Hipple (Innovation-TRIZ), H. R. "Pent" Penton (Innovation Insights) For more information, contact Jack Hipple at

The Early Identification of Disruptive Technology ROR group was formed in 2010 in response to input from several IRI members as well as the influence of Clayton Christensen, whose work sparked debate over what he calls "the innovator's dilemma." Christensen argues that established companies often focus so intently on current customer needs that they are eventually overtaken by a new, disruptive technology. IRI member companies have experienced both sides of the disruption equation: many have been victims of disruption, while others have been able to use disruption as a business strategy. This project was formed to better understand IRI members' views of and experiences with this concept and derive lessons that could be applied across the many different types of organizations that participate in IRI. Key targets for our work include tactics and techniques for anticipating potential disruption, best practices for dealing with external disruption, and organizational aspects of dealing with disruption.

Constructing a Questionnaire The group's primary activity has been to construct a questionnaire to guide interviews with senior managers of IRI organizations. It has taken several months to construct the questionnaire in a way that the team feels will extract relevant information. Pilot interviews were conducted in one IRI member company to obtain feedback on the questions and the interpretation of the information received. In response to this feedback, the questionnaire was adjusted, and we have made further minor adjustments to improve the interview process based on feedback from additional participants.

In early 2012, after the questionnaire was completed and piloted, the group formed several interview teams, decided on an interview process, identified people to interview at IRI member organizations, and began scheduling interviews. Interviewees are being selected to represent a broad range of organizational types so that the deliverables from the project will be useful to as many IRI members as possible. The names of participating companies will be kept confidential. The interview teams have two members, allowing the interviewer to focus on the interviewee while the second person takes notes. The teams conducted six initial interviews in the first half of 2012. The information from these initial interviews was used to begin to form a framework for the output of the project.

Progress At the 2012 Annual Meeting in Indian Wells, California, the group conducted several breakout sessions to review what we have learned and begin the work of framing a future article. These discussions also enriched our approach by identifying two different types of disruptions that members must be concerned about. The first is what Christensen had in mind when he coined the term "disruptive innovation." These are business- and technology-related disruptions resulting from some kind of innovation-a technological breakthrough, an emergent business model, or an entirely new mechanism of function delivery (for instance, e-mail replacing written letters sent via the postal service).

The second type of disruption is not linked to innovation, but it can profoundly change a company's approach to innovation. This disruption emerges from factors that are external to the technology or business arena. Examples of such disruptions include changes in government regulation or a loss of political stability; game-changing raw material discoveries or, conversely, a sudden loss of access to a key material or component; or a sudden shiftin consumer preferences, such as the recent growth of "green" concerns. Our final analysis will consider both disruptive innovation and radical disruption from other sources.

In constructing our final deliverables, the team is attempting to construct a strategic analysis model for disruptive innovation and is in the early stages of determining whether any sort of general model can be constructed for types of disruption. Such a model may not necessarily be predictive, but it could offer some guidance with regard to how and what to monitor in order to maximize the chances of predicting a disruption.

Next Steps Our goal is to complete at least 12 interviews and analyses prior to the Member Summit in October and make an interim report at that meeting. We will use that interim report to seek input from IRI members as to the usefulness of the information and the model proposed.

The ultimate goal is to use the output from these interviews and our own subject matter expertise to create a structural framework for analyzing and anticipating disruptive innovation, as well as a model for anticipating other kinds of disruption. We welcome further input from IRI members. If your organization wishes to participate in the interview process, or if you have input regarding the framework, please contact Joseph George,

Managing Global R&D Networks ROR Profile Managing Global R&D Networks Enhancing an organization's ability to expand internationally by developing effective global networks Goal: To explore best practices and new technologies that allow an organization to establish effective global subunits.

Cochairs: Robert Slone (BP), David Stafford (Michelin), Steve Becker (Armstrong), Art Shirley (Linde) EAG Mentor: H. R. "Pent" Penton Subject Matter Expert: Robert McNamee (Temple University) For more information, contact Robert McNamee at

Multinational corporations understand that real value comes from connecting their knowledge-capturing mechanisms with diverse sources of knowledge, experience, and ideas. The challenge in doing so comes from the difficulties companies face in repatriating the knowledge gained from global subsidiaries. This ROR working group is a foundation stone in what we hope will be many future studies exploring how best to manage complex global R&D networks to streamline the process of acquiring and assimilating knowledge from international endeavors.

The project began at the 2011 ROR Winter Meeting after a brainstorming session highlighted the importance of the topic to IRI member companies. The group has since met three times, at the 2011 Annual Meeting and the 2011 Member Summit and at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Indian Wells, California. Through those meetings, we have developed a plan to interview companies and administer a survey to identify key challenges and best practices in managing global R&D networks to maximize knowledge capture.

Identifying Challenges The central aims of this project are to identify how companies manage networks now and to benchmark best practices. The critical issues we intend to address relate to the decisions surrounding the establishment of a global subsidiary network or subunit, the roles and responsibilities of subunits, the mechanisms by which knowledge is obtained and transferred back to headquarters, the best integration and coordination approaches given the responsibilities assigned the unit, and the effective management of human resources in a foreign market. Early work has focused on questions around the structure and management of subunits to provide context for work on knowledge transfer, integration, and coordination.

The complex decisions around global subunits are illustrated by a patent analysis provided by Dow Chemical. The analysis highlighted the various ways in which international subunits tend to cluster. What it revealed was that Dow is highly networked across the United States, near its headquarters, but globally the company operates more in a hub-and-spoke system. This structure is a response to one of the significant challenges of establishing international subunits: as distance from headquarters grows, knowledge flow diminishes. Dow tries to keep subunits close to research clusters in order to maximize their efficiency and connectivity, but this comes at the expense of developing wide continental networks like the one it has in the United States. This clustering behavior serves its purpose: grouping subunits near one another increases communication and knowledge sharing within the cluster and draws talent to the region. However, the loss of a wider network may mean that it may not facilitate knowledge transfer across clusters.

Issues around the roles and responsibilities of global subunits were raised by several attendees at the 2012 Annual Meeting. A primary interest is the differences between subunits focused on research and those assigned development activities. Chemical, pharmaceutical, and tech companies tend to leverage global clusters for exploration and research purposes, but subunits work less on development, which is kept close to home. In contrast, consumer product companies tend to focus subunits more on exploitation and development than on research. Discussion at our Annual Meeting session also identified other questions around subunit roles: subunit roles are not always clearly defined; subunits sometimes do not take advantage of foreign talent and research clusters even when they are co-located with them; and when a subunit's roles are not clear, its operational behavior becomes more reactive and less focused on R&D.

Autonomy may be a key factor in a subunit's ability to collect and create knowledge and return it to the organization. But autonomy requires trust. How can an organization measure a subsidiary's competence at knowledge creation and its ability to take on broader responsibilities What are the risks associated with granting too much autonomy too quickly- or not enough autonomy Attracting and retaining talent in foreign markets remains an underdeveloped area for global networks and subunits, so the group is also beginning to explore various human resources management frameworks to better utilize local talent in foreign markets.

Next Steps We are currently conducting a literature review, which will provide context for further work and serve as a framework for a white paper, and we are surveying IRI member companies to identify their best practices in effectively managing global R&D sites. Companies wishing to participate in the survey should contact Rob McNamee at or

Dealing with the Shortage of Critical Materials ROR Profile Dealing with the Shortage of Critical Materials Exploring how IRI member companies evaluate and plan for the shortage of strategic materials Goal: To provide methodologies for identifying coming shortages, managing risks, and communicating risks and strategies to upper management.

Cochairs: Darin Latimer (Danaher Corp), Stewart Mehlman (Praxair, retired) Subject Matter Expert: Gene Slowinski (Rutgers) For more information, contact Gene Slowinski at

The consumption of our planet's natural resources is a limiting factor on industrial growth. When the materials we depend on become scarce, our need for innovative solutions to such resource constraints grows in importance. Of significance are several critical metals whose supply has been affected in recent years by political forces. These forces have produced extreme price fluctuations and escalations for these metals. One IRI member company, for instance, calculated that there were 10 occurrences in the last 20 years of critical metals prices increasing quickly, by at least a factor of two. Eight of those instances occurred between 2004 and 2008. Sometimes the prices fluctuated, increasing and declining rapidly. Other times metal prices remained high. In either event, firms experience increased raw material costs that cannot be readily mitigated, since there is no futures market for these metals. For the firm in question, these price fluctuations led to a billion-dollar increase in spending. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that many firms sell products with contract service agreements that can run from 5 to 10 years, obligating the firm to assume the risk of fluctuating material prices during that time.

While the current focus is on rare earth metals, almost all companies rely on at least one material whose supply could be interrupted with radically disruptive results. The purpose of the Shortage of Critical Metals ROR group is to examine how IRI firms deal with potential shortages of critical materials. Specifically, we are identifying methods firms use to assess risk, prioritize critical materials and forms, and communicate strategies and risk mitigation actions to upper management.

Collecting Case Studies The group held two roundtable meetings, the first at the 2012 ROR Winter Meeting in Coral Gables, Florida, and the second at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Indian Wells, California, to which we invited R&D managers and supply-chain managers responsible for critical materials. These managers explained how their firms are interrogating their supply chains to understand the risks and explore mechanisms for mitigating them. An important part of the process is communicating with senior executives, who must take action in a commercially relevant timeframe.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has taken the lead in identifying critical metals for clean energy initiatives in the United States. In the process, it has developed a criticality matrix that provides a model for conceptualizing resources risks. The vertical axis of the matrix captures the importance of the resource, and the horizontal axis measures supply risk. The matrix provides a visual depiction of which metals represent a critical supply risk or near critical supply risk, and which are not a risk. Some IRI firms, such as GE, are using a similar analysis to assess their own risks with respect to critical materials ( Duclos, Otto, and Konitzer 2010 ).

Firms are seeking to mitigate risks in a variety of ways, including reconsidering business models, innovating to use less material, and engaging key members in the supply chain. With regard to metals, one common approach is to work with mining firms to stabilize the supply chain. For example, International Metalworking Companies (IMC) is forming a strategic alliance with Woulfe Mining Corporation to ensure its supply of tungsten. IMC will take a 25 percent equity position in Woulfe and the two firms will form a joint venture to convert tungsten ore into a commercially viable form of tungsten. IMC will invest in the facility and acquire no less than 90 percent of the commercially viable tungsten at market or near-market prices. This type of agreement is critical for miners because new mines take years and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. Off-take agreements with customers and other innovative methods must be used to finance the high-risk activities of finding, evaluating, and producing a viable mine.

Another case of innovative business development to combat material shortages has been Delta Airlines' purchase of the Trainer oil refinery facility in Pennsylvania. Delta acquired the refinery under the expectations that jet fuel prices would continue to rise, and fuel conservation technology would fail to keep pace in a way that would offset the cost. By purchasing the refinery, Delta expects to alleviate approximately $300 million in fuel costs per annum. Such examples serve to highlight the growing need for business model innovations to mitigate risks associated with material shortages.

Next Steps This ROR group is organized around a one-year timeline, and we are approaching its conclusion. We still require additional input to finalize our recommendations and are conducting interviews with subject matter experts. In addition, we are developing an outline of the final article to identify the areas where we are still missing information. That outline will lead to a set of final interviews and a draftarticle for submission to RTM .

We are interested in interviewing R&D and supplychain managers from any IRI company that has developed a methodology for identifying and communicating the risk of critical resource shortages to the firm. Of particular interest are companies that work in magnet production or the subassembly portions of the supply chain for permanent magnets. The addition of an Asian company to our list of interviewees would also help strengthen the global applicability of our research. If your company is willing to discuss its approaches to risk assessment and mitigation with us, please contact Gene Slowinski at

References Duclos , S. J. , Otto , J. P. , and Konitzer , D. G. 2010 . Design in an era of constrained resources . Mechanical Engineering 132 ( 9). Design_Era_Constrained.cfm .

Social Networking in the Enterprise ROR Profile Social Networking in the Enterprise Exploring the role of social networking and social media in R&D organizations today Goal : To identify basic criteria for the effective implementation of social networking initiatives and tools in the workplace.

Cochairs : John James (NASA Johnson Space Center), Joanna Sutton (Westinghouse Electric), Keith Spitler (Bayer Material Science) Subject Matter Experts : Robert McNamee (Temple University), Alan Fusfeld (The Fusfeld Group) For more information, contact John James at .

Although many still see social media as purely social, various social networking tools are clearly shaping how businesses communicate. The largest impact of social media for R&D is in its use to facilitate collaboration and in its wider influence on how, when, and where collaboration happens. The Social Networks in the Enterprise ROR group formed as an extension of the Collaboration Continuum ROR at IRI's 2011 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In subsequent meetings, participants decided to limit the scope of the group's work to the use of social media in R&D organizations, an area that appears to be unexplored territory.

Current Actions Over the course of its work, the group accumulated research from a literature search in the areas of networks and social networks; case presentations from organizations involved in social networking; results of other ROR groups, most notably the Collaboration Continuum; and a focused discussion session with representatives of IRI organizations to identify key issues and questions associated with social networks.

It became apparent over the course of our research that social media has an enormous impact on industrial collaboration efforts. The magnitude of these potential effects greatly overwhelmed any reasonable research effort, so we decided to limit our efforts to the impacts of social networks on internal R&D projects. It was also evident from the research that metrics involved in measuring effects of social networking on R&D are currently quite limited. With this in mind, we set out to capture a basic set of findings on how to identify value criteria for social networking. At IRI's 2012 Annual Meeting in Indian Wells, California, participants finalized a list of findings to be compiled into a white paper that will serve as the group's final deliverable.

Next Steps Our group is in the process of compiling the white paper based on the findings of our yearlong research project. Much work still lies ahead in the field of social networking in R&D. At the IRI 2012 Member Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana, we will present our findings and seek member input on how best to proceed with the research.

Further participation would be welcomed, especially from organizations with active internal social network implementations; we would especially like to expand our reach globally. For more information about this group and its work, or to participate, contact John James at

Sustainability Maturity Model ROR Profile Sustainability Maturity Model Building a best-in-class maturity model to benchmark sustainability innovation programs Building a best-in-class maturity model to benchmark sustainability innovation programs Cochairs: John Taylor (Schneider Electric), Sue Burek (Ingersoll-Rand) Mentor: Virginia Brandt (Energizer), Subject Matter Experts: Larry Schwartz (Intellectual Assets), Peter Knox (Ec°Chem Strategies) For more information, contact Sue Burek at

The Sustainability Maturity Model ROR group evolved from a prior working group, Sustainability in R&D, as a result of the mind-mapping exercise at the 2011 Xchange meeting in Coral Gables, Florida. The earlier group was formed to determine how to incorporate sustainability into R&D by sharing experiences and best practices around tools for assessing a company's current practices and products with regard to sustainability. This group will expand on that work by developing a framework and tool to help R&D organizations assess their current status with regard to sustainability; the plan also includes exploring how such a framework could be used to indicate how sustainability can be built into the organization going forward.

This group has explored how sustainability can create competitive advantage and drive growth; its primary output is a maturity model for sustainability on several dimensions, along with metrics and a management system. The challenges we needed to overcome in reaching this goal began with the difficulty of coming to an agreement on a definition of sustainability.

Defining Sustainability Sustainability is often discussed, but its diverse set of meanings is rarely explored in detail. The challenge for this group is to help leaders and companies understand what sustainability is and benchmark their sustainability practices in a meaningful way. This has required categorizing key components of sustainability strategy and determining what metrics and design tools are appropriate for each component.

Our approach to creating the maturity model and assessment tool took several steps: 1. Determine elements related to sustainability.

2. Assess best in class for each element.

3. Interview those involved in sustainability efforts and benchmark current best practices against existing indices.

4. Define maturity path.

Based on existing benchmarks, a survey of the literature, and best practices described by interviewees, the team has developed a model to structure its understanding of the various hurdles of sustainability and an assessment tool to allow companies to benchmark their progress in achieving sustainability on several dimensions. Attendees at the 2012 Annual Meeting reviewed the current version of the sustainability maturity model, helped evaluate the assessment tool, and learned where their companies fit compared to others in similar industries by comparing their organization's results with those of others in similar industries.

Next Steps We have created a survey based on our model; the data from the survey will help us to validate the accompanying assessment tool. We are looking for more participants to increase the statistical sample size in order to minimize our margins of error and verify the maturity path. Anyone who is interested may take the survey, available at . The identities of participating companies will be kept confidential; participants will receive feedback on their survey results, including a measure of how each participant ranks against others in the same industry and against all participants.

For more information, please contact Sue Burek at

(c) 2012 Industrial Research Institute, Inc

[ Back To's Homepage ]





Technology Marketing Corporation

800 Connecticut Ave, 1st Floor East, Norwalk, CT 06854 USA
Ph: 800-243-6002, 203-852-6800
Fx: 203-866-3326

General comments:
Comments about this site:


© 2014 Technology Marketing Corporation. All rights reserved.