Special 75th Anniversary Project - IRI 2038 Futures Study
Launch Date: May 2012
Expected Wrap-up Date: 2013
As part of IRI’s 75th Anniversary Celebration (2013) IRI commissioned the IRI2038 project, a futures initiative designed to answer the following two questions:
How will possible future developments and events impact the art and science of research and technology management over the next 25 years?
How can IRI best serve its membership in these possible futures?
IRI2038 is currently in the Scenario Development phase. This phase includes the following activities:
Systems Workshops: IRI2038 facilitated workshops at the 2013 ROR Winter Meeting to initiate development of inductive scenarios that will be used to explore the management of R&D and the role of IRI. Teams reviewed potential impacts of 2-3 major trends (from the Futures Audit) and weak signals (from the Weak Signals Environmental Scan) and clustered them based on possible interactions and affinity. The teams used these to build influence diagrams connecting the most important cluster elements. The diagrams were used by the facilitation team to develop four high level systems maps that will be created into scenarios to explore potential trends impacting the art and science of R&D in the next 25 years. We would like to extend sincere thanks to Wendy Shultz, Infinite Futures in Oxford, England and Emily Empel, Disney, Orlando for serving as workshop facilitators.
Scenario Development: The IRI2038 team will fully develop the scenarios by incorporating other related signals or trends. Research reports and future narratives for the scenarios will be reviewed at the IRI Diamond Jubilee in May 2013.
IRI2038 has completed two phases - Discovery and Extrapolation. The Discovery Phase included the following activities:
The IRI Futures Audit
establishes a consensus view of the future that will serve as the baseline for this project. To accomplish this, the IRI2038 team interviewed 38 R&D leaders around the world to understand what they believe will be the key drivers of change in R&D management over the next 25 years. The IRI2038 Futures Audit Report
identifies what IRI members and others in the research and technology management arena believe will be the expected future.
Twenty-five Year Retrospective - an exercise identifying major events and developments that impacted how R&D management has evolved over the past 25 year. Examples could include: universities adopt the Bayh-Dole amendment for intellectual property, end of the cold war, the internet, etc. This helps set expectations for magnitude of changes in next 25 years. Activities will include posing in the IRI Community Forum and a review of 25 years of the RTM journal and ROR projects to identify key themes over time.
– exploration of early signals of future trends and events outside the consensus views expressed in the Futures Audit. The IRI2038 Weak Signals Report
uncovers emerging patterns of change that are on the fringe of awareness, but have the potential to alter the expected future of R&D as described in the Futures Audit Report. The Report provides overviews of weak signals and questions for R&D leaders to explore the potential implications.
The Extrapolation Phase included:
The trends and weak signals identified in Discovery were projected into the future using futures wheels. (Futures Wheel example
) Workshops were conducted at the IRI Member Summit to engage IRI members in developing futures wheels for four signals/trends: augmented humans, the demise of IP, crowdsourced science and the future of computing. The IRI2038 team leveraged several resources to complete these including: IRI members, online tools, students in the University of Houston’s futures program and other futurists. The results will inform the development of scenarios in the next project phase.
Watch for IRI2038 updates and opportunities to engage in the project.
The initiative is led by Ted Farrington (PepsiCo) and Christian Crews (AndSpace Consulting), co-authors of the March 2012 RTM article on Research Foresights and a 2011 Member Summit presentation. The project will engage IRI members and thought leaders in the exploration and development of provocative yet plausible views of events, developments and change forces impacting R&D Management.
IRI2038 project is made possible by member donations to the IRI Diamond Anniversary Campaign.