John Seely Brown Opens 2014 Summit on Innovation Performance

IRI Launches Major Research Project on Digitization

Denver, CO (October 14, 2014)—Finding the correct balance between investing in the development of new products and protecting existing business can be challenging for managers, especially when the company faces uncertainty and a quickly changing business landscape. At the Industrial Research Institute’s (IRI) 2014 Member Summit, which kicked off this morning, John Seely Brown, visiting professor at USC and former director of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), delivered a keynote into ways of innovating innovation to remove the corporation’s fear of change, using examples from Xerox, Corning, Amazon, and even far-flung areas like extreme surfing and World of Warcraft.

“One of the biggest challenges R&D organizations face is effectively selling project ideas to the business side of the corporation,” said Dan Abramowicz, IRI Chair and Executive Vice President of Technology and Regulatory Affairs at Crown Holdings, Inc.  “Every new idea, no matter how transformative, must withstand a review by people who may not have an interest in change or may not recognize the idea’s potential.  Improving the interaction between these two corporate elements is essential to success.”

This year’s IRI Member Summit, “Climbing to New Peaks in Innovation Performance,” is about pushing the boundaries of R&D management to make innovation systems more effective. To complement the rich exchange that its meetings produce on such subjects, IRI has also begun developing long-term, large-scale research projects into unique, cutting-edge areas of R&D. Having recently completed an 18-month study into the future of R&D management, the IRI2038 Futures Study, the organization just launched its Next Big Thing: an in-depth study into digitization’s impact on R&D.

“The technology and processes surrounding R&D are more complex, yet more accessible, than they have ever been thanks to the rise of digital,” said Ed Bernstein, president of IRI. “From cloud services and open innovation platforms to accelerated streaming of complex data and the rise of the industrial internet, digital defines the current era of technological innovation.”
Copies of IRI’s book on the IRI2038 Futures Study can be found on the company’s website. To participate or learn more about IRI’s new research project into digitization, contact Lee Green at

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