IRI Research


  1. Strategic projects: These projects are developed by IRI based on member input (Voice of Member data, task forces). They are managed by members and IRI staff. Examples include IRI2038 and the Digitalization and R&D research platform.
  2. Research on Research (ROR) working group projects: These projects are initiated and managed by members with support from IRI.


IRI conducts large-scale, groundbreaking research platforms on a two year cycle. The projects under these platforms receive funding from IRI and support from IRI staff. The themes for these platforms are determined by a task force of members, specifically tasked with identifying topics at the bleeding edge for R&D professionals. The current platform is Digitalization and its Implications in R&D Management. It began in early 2015 and will report out at the Member Summit in 2016. A task force will be formed to determine the theme for the next platform in spring/summer 2016.

IRI also occasionally launches smaller strategic projects on an ad hoc basis. One such current example is the partnership project with APQC, Using Experts to Support the Global Flow of Knowledge.



You may ask, “How do you do research on research?” ROR is a program that focuses on determining best practices for processes related to the effective management of R&D in industry. This is accomplished by assembling industry leaders from research, technology, and innovation to collaborate in volunteer working groups. Together, volunteers share their experiences and research case studies to establish best practices regarding common issues of interest or concern. The research performed in ROR is leading-edge because it provides a broader and more diverse perspective for enhancing the effectiveness of technological innovation by leveraging experts across all industries. Participating in these unique groups provides an invaluable learning experience and wealth of network connections.


ROR leads and executes a portfolio of projects, which are initiated as a result of member interest. IRI member volunteers define and lead each project as a working group of the ROR. All IRI members are encouraged to join any project, at any stage in the project lifecycle. Further, project leaders may invite people from outside of IRI (academia, consultants) to participate in their working groups, where subject matter expertise will strengthen the research focus and also help facilitate the timely completion of a project. ROR holds three live meetings per year, one every winter and at both of IRI's semi-annual meetings, where the working groups conduct “real work” on their projects. Face-to-face meetings provide opportunities to recruit new members and allow current members to connect and re-connect with a network of innovation leaders across all industries.


A Research-on-Research Subcommittee was appointed by the IRI Board of Directors in 1968, following an unsuccessful effort to convince the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish centers for research-on-research at universities in the United States. The subcommittee concluded that research-on-research was important enough to the interests of the Institute that the idea should be initiated without the support of NSF. Thus, a regular standing committee of IRI was created in 1971 to carry out research on the process of research in industry.


The Vision of the IRI's research program is to be the leading forum to identify, lead, support and conduct research that enhances innovation.  The vision is to be achieved through projects, programs and initiatives that:

  • Capture the forefront of emerging thinking
  • Identify emerging concepts and best practices
  • Develop actionable learning, and
  • Promote knowledge diffusion


IRI's research activities provide R&D leaders the unique opportunity to work with peers from a variety of companies to identify, create, advance, and codify innovation management practices and develop new knowledge.  Research findings can be effectively used in R&D leaders' organizations and can be spread through the IRI membership.


For project co-chairs in particular, their experience with their working group will allow them to participate in the development of best practices, to develop new knowledge relevant to their company and/or role, and to gain perspective on their subject matter and beyond.  This is in addition to the networking opportunities that will arise and the chances to establish new professional relationships.  Basically, if it is the right project, it will really help and make a co-chair's day job. 


We gratefully acknowledge the leadership efforts of the project teams and the ROR Leadership Team. The Knowledge Leadership Team, Sue Burek (Newell Rubbermaid) (Chair), Darin Latimer (Danaher) (Chair Elect), Stewart Mehlman (EAG), Natalie Schoch (Kellogg), Norman Golm (Regal Beloit Corporation) and Mike Blackburn (Cargill, Incorporated) (ROR vice Chairs), .



Participation in a project team is only available to IRI members. Members are encouraged to join and to consider beginning new working groups as well. If you are a non-member, but are interested in joining a project team as a Subject Matter Expert, please email Lee Green. Your list of expertise and your name will be added to the SME database for new groups to utilize.

For more information or if you or a colleague are interested in participating in a project team, please contact Lee Green, at or 703-647-2597.



Digitalization and R&D: Big Data

Digitalization and R&D: Collaboration

Digitalization and R&D: Virtual Experimentation & Simulation

Developing and Monetizing a Long Term Vision for R&D

Using Experts to Support the Global Flow of Knowledge

Lean Start-Up in Large Organizations