The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) is an authoritative source of R&D innovation leadership solutions for its member companies since 1938. As a membership association, the member organizations form its governance and develop its programs and services to meet their needs. IRI's mission is to enhance the effectiveness of technological innovation by networking the world's best practitioners and thought leaders to seek, share, learn and create. The Industrial Research Institute offers memberships to both private sector companies and federally funded laboratories. There are just under 200 companies and labs who are current members.
IRI strives to deliver outstanding value to members by:
- Providing insight and actionable learning into R&D’s best practices;
- Creating networking opportunities with technical leaders; and,
- Quickly disseminating knowledge in appropriate formats.
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Fourteen companies comprised the original membership of the Institute when it was formed in 1938, under the auspices of the National Research Council (NRC). Four of these companies retain membership today: Colgate-Palmolive Company, Procter & Gamble Company, Hercules Powder Company (now Ashland, Inc.), and UOP, LLC, formerly known as Universal Oil Products (acquired by Honeywell). Four of the first five presidents were from the six charter-member-company category.
Maurice Holland, then Director of the NRC Division of Engineering, was largely responsible for bringing together about 50 representatives from industry, government, and universities to an initial organizational meeting in February 1938 in New York City. The Institute was an integral part of the National Research Council until 1945, when it separated to become a non-profit membership corporation in the State of New York. However, association with the Council continues unbroken.
At the founding meeting, several speakers stressed the need for an association of research directors---something different from the usual technical society---and that the benefits to be derived would depend on the extent of cooperation by its members. The greatest advantage, they said, would come through personal contacts with members of the group---still a major characteristic of IRI.
In more recent years, the activities of the Institute have broadened considerably. IRI now offers services to the full range of R&D and innovation professionals in the United States and abroad.
In 2013, the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) celebrated its 75th anniversary with a series of events to recognize the impact of its members’ contributions to R&D and innovation in the past and look toward the future of the industry. Here you’ll find a detailed timeline featuring the history of IRI, recaps of its milestone events, and first-hand testimonials from IRI members. - See more at www.iri75.org
A New Symbol for a Continuously Evolving Organization of Innovation
In 2002, IRI’s Chairman described the “Re-Invent IRI” initiative as an opportunity to re-shape the 65-year leader in the management of research and development, “to be a significant force in the future direction of technological innovation.” As a part of this effort, in April of 2003, IRI undertook the task of applying the “Re-Invent IRI” initiative to its corporate identity. While an organization’s brand is much more than its graphic representation, the symbol of the organization, the logo, is an important element for communicating the promise of membership to its constituents and others.
A process for creating the new logo was employed that engaged a broad range of individuals from staff, member companies and others extending beyond the IRI community. Research was conducted to understand how people define what IRI means, articulate the emotional, intangible benefits of the organization and describe the value they receive and expect to receive from IRI. With this information, logo images were created considering several key factors:
- Importance of the history and reputation of IRI in the minds of members.
- Words, phrases, symbols and images used to describe IRI.
- Graphic design principles and consumer response to shapes and colors.
- Position of IRI among comparative organizations.
More than 70 images were created and considered. The final three were evaluated by over 100 people through focus groups and surveys. The story behind the image that has been selected follows.
The founders of IRI defined the original corporate identity as: “The name of this corporation is Industrial Research Institute, Inc., and the abbreviation of the name is ‘I.R.I.’ or ‘IRI.’ The colors of the Institute shall be red, white, and blue. The insignia and seal of the Institute shall consist of two concentric circles between which shall be printed the words ‘Industrial Research Institute 1938.’ Surmounting the inner circle shall be a triangle signifying creative intelligence.” The by-laws became a starting point from which this logo emerged.
The organization itself is commonly referred to as “IRI,” and these letters were incorporated into the image to reflect this. The triangle, a significant symbol in science, mathematics, art and religion, along with the red and blue colors and the organization’s name, communicate the traditional components of IRI. Evolving the basic geometric shapes in the logo, the circle has been transformed to a sphere, adding depth and dimension to the image, and communicating the global, cross-industry nature of IRI. The sphere’s single point of light communicates knowledge or wisdom. The juxtaposition of the two-dimensional triangle off the center of the three-dimensional sphere creates a sense of movement, looking forward.
The result is the new logo of IRI, created using the same collaborative and innovative processes that IRI engenders. It is a graphic representation for an organization that will continue to drive change in both evolutionary and transformational ways.
IRI is a membership association – it’s your association. We rely on many people to help run various aspects of the organization. There are numerous ways to get involved, from participating on a Research-on-Research (ROR) working group, belonging to a network and also helping to provide leadership to the association. Below are a number of opportunities where members can get involved.
If you are interested in serving or learning more about what it means to participate in one of these groups please contact Erika Toman, Vice President, Member Relations.
Awards Committee: selects the recipients of the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) Medal and the IRI Achievement Award for approval by the Board.
Board of Directors: oversees the management of IRI as the governing board and are elected by the voting representatives of the association.
Board of Editors: oversee the publications of the Institute, primarily the Research-Technology Management (RTM) journal. The Board is also responsible for RTM article review and for selecting the recipient of the Maurice Holland Award, presented to the author of the best paper published in RTM the previous year.
IRI Spokesperson: available to speak to media on as needed basis reinforcing goals and mission of IRI in general.
IRI Growth Council: promotes membership in the Institute, investigates the eligibility of new prospects and recommends to the Board those considered desirable for invitation to membership
Nominating Committee: solicits nominations for Vice Chairman and new members of the Board of Directors and determines nominees’ willingness to serve.
Program Committee: organizes and supervises the programs for the Annual Meeting and Member Summit Meetings of the Institute.
Knowledge Leadership Team: provides leadership direction to the working groups that perform studies on various aspects of the research process
Voice of the Member Committee: Review and assess IRI membership needs and recommend programs and projects that meet pressing member needs.