Global R&D spending is forecast to grow by 3.8% — or $60 billion — to $1.6 trillion in 2014, according to the 20th annual forecast by Battelle and R&D Magazine. After a flat 2013, U.S. R&D spending is projected to grow a modest 1% (after inflation) to $465 billion while China is expected to continue its 20-year growth in R&D investment and possibly surpass the U.S. by 2022.
The forecast projects 2014 U.S. R&D investment to increase1%, after inflation, to $465 billion. This is “largely attributable to growth in private sector R&D spending,” said Martin Grueber, a Battelle research leader and co-author of the report. “However, federal funding has become difficult to forecast because of the breakdown of orderly budget processes.”
“Shockley’s Robot Dream”; David C. Brock; IEEE Spectrum, Dec. 2013, pp. 40-45, 55.
Tech history buffs should enjoy this little-known story of how in 1948—the same year he conceived the first transistor — William Shockley filed a patent application for a “Radiant Energy Control System.” David Brock, senior research fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, writes how “I nearly fell out of my seat” when he accidently discovered a misfiled folder in Stanford University’s Shockley archives revealing Shockley’s belief in the feasibility of manufacturing with robots. His subsequent overture to Bell Labs president Mervin Kelly to fund “a trainable robot” failed, spurring, according to Brock, Shockley’s move to California where he formed the now-legendary Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory.
“What’s Next? After Stage-Gate”; Robert G. Cooper; RTM, Jan.-Feb. 2014, pp. 20-31.
Stage-Gate pioneer Robert Cooper examines how leaders are moving beyond conventional Stage-Gate systems to create new idea-to-launch systems. Specifically, Cooper sees a new generation emerging with “a more agile, vibrant, dynamic, flexible gating process that is leaner, faster and more adaptive and risk-based.”
One goal of these new systems is a more agile and nimble process inspired by Agile Development software; another is to accelerate projects through the use of automation software; still another is to sharpen the “fuzzy front end” so it can better steer downstream decision making. Nevertheless, as far as Cooper knows, “no company has yet implemented every element of the next-generation system,” although some have come close.
You can learn more of Cooper’s current thinking in his Nov/Dec 2013 interview with CIMS Innovation Management Report, “What’s Wrong with Product Development,” pp.5-11.
“Make the Most of Scarce Data-Mining Talent”; Brad Brown and Brian Henstorf; http://blogs.hbr.org; Jan. 17, 2014.
Two McKinsey executives address the talent gap in data and analytics seen by recent McKinsey Global Institute studies. They find that companies “far along” in the field are centralizing their analytics organizations into centers of analytic excellence with three kinds of talent: technical and data specialists, analysts and data scientists, and business analytics and solutions specialists.
One of the lessons they highlight from their work on Big Data is that success will require a change in culture that is driven from the top in order “to retain the new breed of data-driven managers while convincing the rest of the organization to be more oriented and aligned around big data and its potential.”
“The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus”; U.S. Dept. of Commerce Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Oct. 2013; http://www.eda.gov/pdf/The_Innovative_and_Entrepreneurial_University_ Report.pdf
This report highlights the efforts by 131 universities to support innovation and entrepreneurship in five key areas:
- Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship;
- Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship;
- Actively supporting university technology transfer;
- Facilitating university-industry collaboration;
- Engaging in regional and local economic development efforts.
The report identifies and describes “most effective” practices at universities including Caltech, Colorado, Cornell, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rice, Rochester, Washington, Wisconsin, and Virginia.
To Co-Found or Not to Co-Found, That is the Question: Lessons for Dealing with “Founder’s Dilemmas”; Noam Wasserman video series from Kauffman Founders School; Jan. 2014; access at www.KauffmanFoundersSchool.org or via www.Entrepreneurship.org
This online education program offers lessons on what founders can do at the earliest stages of a startup to eliminate problems that typically lead to failure. Noam Wasserman, who teaches entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, addresses such founder issues as:
- Should I Co-found? With Whom?: Future ramifications of this key decision;
- Relationships: Pros and cons of founding with friends, family or former coworkers;
- Equity Splits: A founder checklist to know when and how to make fair equity splits;
- Challenges on the Road to Growth: How to balance founder wealth vs. control.
In addition to Wasserman’s lectures, the series includes questions for founders and their teams to answer; an “impact guide” to help founders answer the question, “What will I do differently as a result of the lesson I’ve learned?”; tools and resources to help them implement what they’ve learned; and suggestions for related readings that enhance the lesson and offer additional insights and resources.
Sustainability’s Next Frontier; David Kiron et al; MIT Sloan Management Review; sloanreview.mit.edu/offers-sust-frontier-2013/
Research by MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group draws on 1,847 survey respondents from commercial enterprises in 118 countries to examine companies that “walk the talk” in addressing significant sustainability concerns. So-called “Walkers” like Domtar, in paper products, Caesars Entertainment, in casinos, and Credit Agricole, in banking, focus heavily on five fronts: sustainability strategy, business case, measurement, business model innovation, and leadership commitment. “For them, addressing significant sustainability issues has become a core strategic imperative and a way to mitigate threats and identify new opportunities.”
“A Skeptic’s Guide to 3D Printing;” Tim Laseter and Jeremy Hutchison-Krupat; strategy+business, Issue 73 Winter 2013; strategy-business.com
Two professors at the University of Virginia’s Darden School advise balancing the excitement about any new technology with the application of time-tested forecasting tools. After tracing the successful history of the experience curve, they examine whether it is likely to apply to 3D printing. Their conclusion: That world “presents a vastly different scenario,” and digital printing is unlikely to have the volume to fit Moore’s Law. Nevertheless, after considering the concepts of economies of scale and total landed cost they see it creating new manufacturing opportunities and having “ a profound effect” in some niche markets.
“The Silicon Valley Tech Venture Capital Almanac”; Fall 2013; 153pp.; http://www.cbinsights.com/venture-capital-silicon-valley
Encyclopedic coverage of Silicon Valley’s tech investment and exit landscape including: financing and exit trends by sector and stage; league tables of VC and angel investors based on activity, exits and follow-on investment rates; most active investor rankings for big data, internet of things, digital health, and other emerging fields; investment syndicate analyses of top VCs; highlights of the Valley’s most well-funded private venture-backed companies (the coming tech IPO pipeline).