General Session #4

Sustaining Innovation: Managing the Challenges and Markets

Friday, November 17, 1:30 - 2:20 PM

Speaker(s): A.N. Sreeram, PhD

Pessimism pervasive in the media, it seems, seeps into many discussions of R&D these days, as government R&D budgets contract and elimination of marquee programs seems imminent. Focus only on federal support ignores the spending in industry that exceeds all other R&D funding, and continues to grow. Future funding, however, ultimately demands a return on the R&D investment. How do we get that ROI and continue to sustain innovation?

At The Dow Chemical Company, we’ve earned the ability to continue innovating based on our past performance. This presentation will focus on the R&D strategies that DOW employs. R&D isn’t left to chance—we take steps to stack the deck by:

  • Rigorously managing our R&D portfolio based on quantifiable metrics

  • Focus on R&D productivity and timely delivery of technology

  • Collaborating to extend access to new inventions and to create customer intimacy

  • Application of technical excellence in both product and process design

A significant aspect of sustaining innovation is collaboration. Clearly, the nature of collaboration in R&D is evolving. For example, customers are involved much earlier in the R&D process, especially market leaders, to reduce the time required for development while reducing market uncertainty. R&D at academic institutions is focused to provide timely results and maximize benefit. The world of R&D is changing as we face these challenges to improve the delivery of innovation.

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