How the Practice of Strategy and Innovation Must Change

Kellogg School of Management’s Robert C. Wolcott addresses the NOW! Economy at IRI Summit

 For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL (October 19, 2015) – Most of the technologies making headlines today allow the broader distribution of capabilities, resources, and intelligence, eventually creating a challenge for business models and even market structures across industries. In his keynote address this morning at the Industrial Research Institute’s (IRI) Member Summit, Professor Robert C. Wolcott, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, explained how multiple emerging technologies impact the ways established businesses must operate to succeed in competitive environments experiencing faster, more diverse, and more volatile change.


“The acceleration of speed-to-market practices has been felt across industries for some time now,” said Tom Kavassalis, IRI Board Chairman and Vice President, Strategy and Alliances, at the Xerox Innovation Group. “Professor Wolcott’s address expertly framed our pressing need to change the ways we innovate lest we face greater hardship in the near future.”


Touching on the chaotic pace of change in today’s marketplace, Wolcott noted that the concept of a “NOW! Economy” is easily seen as consumers seemingly get bored of products that only recently came out, expecting the next one to be released shortly after purchasing the most recent version. Companies failing to move their products quickly to market fall behind competitors, causing general erosion in the patent system as organizations begin to favor a first-to-market approach. The affect, he said, is that companies need to start rethinking how they approach strategy, innovation, and business model evolution.


Around 350 of the nation’s R&D and innovation thought leaders gathered in Chicago this week to talk about agile growth strategies at the IRI Member Summit. Participants heard from industry experts on the drivers and trends behind the rising emphasis on agile growth strategies, as well as the opportunity to exchange success stories and challenges with fellow members from organizations like Boeing, Monsanto, Michelman, BASF, Arup, Eastman Chemical, Halliburton, Kimberly-Clark, TATA Consultancy, Arkema, and many more.


About the Industrial Research Institute

The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) is an organization of 200+ industrial and service companies having a common interest in the effective management of technological innovation. IRI member companies span diverse industries and represent a substantial portion of our nation’s gross domestic product. IRI is the only cross-industry organization creating innovation leadership solutions and best practices in innovation management developed through collaborative knowledge creation. For more information, call 703-647-2580 or visit