Research - Strategic Challenges in R&D Talent Management

Completed October 2017

IRI's 2017 Strategic Research Platform: Strategic Challenges in R&D Talent Management

Following on from the IRI2038 Futures Study and the Digitalization and R&D research study, IRI launched its new strategic research platform at the 2016 Member Summit.  In consultation with the IRI membership, IRI's Knowledge Leadership team selected the theme of strategic challenges in R&D talent management with individual projects tackling the themes listed below.  These projects were on an accelerated timeline and reported out at the 2017 Member Summit.  They held initial exploration sessions at the 2016 Member Summit and have now finished working.

Liquid Talent:  Tools to Embrace a more Fluid Workforce

With new recruits planning to only stay at organizations for a short period and lifers considering partial retirement, how can an R&D organization effectively plan for the competencies that will be needed now and in the long term?  


Identify a set of tools that R&D organizations can use to effectively employ technical liquid talent.

  1. Knowledge Management
  2. Human Resources
  3. Technology
  4. Planning
  5. Looking to the future

Recruiting and Retaining Early Career Technical Talent


Determine key elements of an early career development experience that maximize the mutual benefit for the employee and employer and enhances retention of top talent.

  1. Identify common attributes of workplace environments/cultures that are successful in recruiting and retaining early career technical professionals.
  2. Identify characteristics of successful development plans for early career hires in the first two years of employment.

Career Paths for Innovation

Can we identify a model career path for innovators?


To gain a better understanding of the role of the leader of the R&D function in an organization (e.g. CTO, VP of R&D, CSO; CTO for shorthand), the path that individuals take to that position, the competencies required to function well in the role, how the role functions within a large R&D organization, and the future of that role.  To accomplish this, the following elements will be addressed:

  1. Determine commonalities in the path of individuals who are in the role of CTO. 
  2. Determine commonalities in the role of CTO as it currently stands in a variety of organizations.
  3. Identify common skills and competencies that CTOs develop along the path to that role.

Hypothesize as to the how the role and the path to it will change in the future.

Interested in More Information?

Contact Lee Green