PILOT - Tackling complex challenges

When IRI members have complex challenges, PILOT swoops in!

The PILOT Team will help you:

  • Connect with other members facing the same challenge.
  • Select and deploy the right tools to dive into the challenge.
  • Create deliverables to share with your team.

How it works:

  1. IRI connects you with other members in the same boat, forming a working group.
  2. IRI guides you through the research process, organizing and advising, while members of the working group provide intellectual input.
  3. The working group creates a deliverable to share with their teams and the rest of the IRI membership.

To learn more about the process and all of the options available, check out this explainer slide deck.

Current Projects

Brilliant Failures Sign up to receive updates
Growth Outside the Core Sign up to receive updates
Innovation Governance Sign up to receive updates


In the pipeline:

Benchmarking survey PILOT will conduct two benchmarking surveys in 2019.  Suggest a topic.
IRI archives deep dive PILOT will be auditing our past projects to update the research and create learning modules on key recurring themes. Suggest a theme.
Roundtable discussion PILOT will host at least one focused roundtable discussion on a hot button issue for members.  Suggest a topic.


Recent work:

Challenge: How can we better recruit and retain early career technical talent?
How we addressed it:

Literature scan, survey of early career professionals, case studies


video report out, RTM article, roundtable presentations

Top Takeaways:

Early and later career professionals mostly want similar things; the biggest differences with early career technical talent are a desire for:

  • Quicker rotation through projects and roles
  • Continuous feedback





Pilot Steering Committee

This committee supports all PILOT activities, including working groups, from inception through dissemination.  Committee members work collaboratively to experiment in processes and methods to identify best practices; provide means for idea generation to keep the pipeline full and relevant; and actively investigate mechanisms for timely, accessible and actionable deliverables.

  • Mike Blackburn (Chair), Research & Development Portfolio/Program Leader, Cargill
  • Steve Moskowitz, Strategic Innovation Manager, Entegris
  • Kent Young, Senior Director of Technology, Sherwin-Williams
  • Norman Golm, Director of Innovation, Regal Beloit Corporation
  • Pushpa Manukonda, Director, John Deere Technology Innovation Center, John Deere
  • Marcie Zaharee, Project Leader MITRE Innnovation Program, MITRE
  • Joel Schall, Director Technology and Innovation, Henkel
  • Preeti Chandra, Associate Director, Praxair R&D


A Research-on-Research (ROR) 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.

ROR was rolled into PILOT in January 2018 in tandem with the association’s rebranding to Innovation Research Interchange.

Research Document Center

Project Proposal Form

PDF iconProject Plan Diagram

Microsoft Office document iconProject Charter Template