Friday, June 29, 2012

Find: intel cto on connecting research to development -- pathfinding through the valley of research death

Intel Labs: 21st Century Industrial Research

This morning I had the opportunity to present a keynote speech at the U.S. Innovation Summit in Washington D.C., alongside the US CTO and CIO, among many other distinguished participants.

I was asked to speak about the importance of U.S. innovation to job creation, the economy and the future of U.S. competitiveness, so I took the opportunity to discuss how Intel undertook a transformation in our approach to research and innovation and how far we’ve come in the past few years. We view this approach as a 21st century model of industrial research in contrast to the 20th century model of Bell Labs and the many U.S., European, and Asian companies that copied the Bell Labs model.

I’ve received several requests for the text from the speech, so I’ve included it below.  Enjoy.

The U.S. Innovation Summit 

The Newseum, Washington, D.C.June 20, 2012 

Prepared Speech by Justin Rattner, Intel CTO

Thank you and good morning.

It’s a pleasure to be here today to discuss the importance of innovation to the economic future of the United States.  I’ll try to avoid the usual platitudes and get right to what I think U.S. industry needs to do to get its innovation house in order.

It is no doubt clear to those of you who work inside the beltway that the word “innovation” is on the lips of everyone from corporate executives, government leaders and university presidents.  Each of them talks about the need for the U.S. to accelerate its pace of innovation or be overrun by innovation coming from virtually every other point on the planet. The message is simply: innovate or die.

Unfortunately, many of these same leaders often confuse innovation with ideation and that in my judgment is a critical, if not fatal, mistake. As the CTO of a major technology company, I am constantly exposed to new ideas for all manner of products and services. They’re ideas bubbling up in my organization and ideas streaming in from our customers and our collaborators, from both industries and universities. Ask any VC if he or she is lacking for ideas. They’ll tell you the same thing. Ideas are cheap; a dime a dozen. Innovation, not ideation, is where we need to focus.

Another common confusion is over the difference between invention and innovation. Every time I hear people reminiscing about the good ol’ days of research when Bell Labs or IBM Research was winning another Nobel Prize or Xerox PARC was off inventing the future of computing, I just cringe. While those industrial-scale research labs of the 20th century were great inventors of things, from the first laser to the laser printer, they were absolute disasters at making them practical and getting them to market. Despite the fact that most...

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