Industrial Research Institute
IRI e-Innovation Newsletter
No. 421
 February 2015
  From the President's Desk

The health of an association, as you all know, is dependent upon a strong volunteer leadership. IRI has been lucky to have had 77 amazing Chairmen and women over its 77 year history, but this has come at a price. Each year, two candidates stand for election for Vice-Chair. Both candidates are always excellent and both candidates would serve as great leaders of IRI, but only one is elected.

It is never fun to lose, yet every year we subject an excellent candidate--an IRI member who has given tremendously to the Institute--to this unpleasantness. By doing so, we cut our pool of talented leaders in half and make it harder for the unelected candidate to continue contributing at such a high level. A similar dilemma exists for those running to sit as Board Directors. Those not elected face an uphill battle in contributing to IRI's leadership and can become demoralized upon losing the election, especially if they believe themselves more qualified than those who won.

For these reasons, the Board of Directors has decided to change the process by which IRI leaders are elected.

Elections will still be held, but the slate of candidates will not necessarily exceed the number of openings on the Board. Voters will be asked to simply approve the entire slate with a yes or no vote. At times, the number of candidates will exceed the number of seats available and on those occasions the typical ballot election will be held. The reason is to allow candidates to place their names on the ballot if they are not selected by the Nominating Committee. Any eligible IRI member representative, who has submitted a petition signed by 10% of the membership, will be placed on the ballot in addition to the slate of candidates selected by the Nominating Committee.

This year is a transition year. Only one candidate will run for Vice-Chair alongside six candidates for open Director positions. One thing will not change, however: IRI will continue to be led by talented, dedicated leaders.

  Member Spotlight

Dale Ormond

Securing the Future


The Department of Defense (DOD) is the largest employer of engineers worldwide. The tremendous size of their budget and operational mission allows them to continuously exist on the cutting edge of technological innovation, and Dale Ormond, Principal Director of the DOD's research wing, has a front row seat.


"I see first-hand a tremendous range of R&D, from basic to applied science, all of which may lead to some of tomorrow's most exciting technology capabilities," said Ormond. "I work to balance what the DOD, its labs, industry, and academia, focus on; from rapid delivery of technical capabilities today to determining what we need to keep the warfighter, and the nation, safe in the future."


An engineer by training, Ormond began his service as a nuclear submarine officer where he learned not only his technical expertise, but management experience that would be critical throughout his career. After leaving the Navy, Ormond worked for the Department of Energy to help with the disposal of nuclear waste material. From there he transitioned to the Army where he held positions in policy and acquisition, dealing with the oversight of chemical and weapon demilitarization programs. With a Masters in environmental systems and a strong technical background in nuclear energy and waste, Ormond says he has developed broad enough expertise to continually take on new challenges with increasing responsibility.


"I don't have a crystal ball," said Ormond, "but every day I need to continue to position the DOD's research focus on what is coming next; what we need to be prepared for tomorrow to protect our country... and ensure that we have the personnel to help us do this."


Ormond's advice for young professionals: Focus on a strong education complemented by a solid technical background. Take jobs that challenge you, continually try to learn new things, take on responsibility whenever you can, and be willing to move, whether organizationally or geographically.




One of the important things the DOD is currently working on to better plan for the future is a Long-Range Research and Development Program Plan. This Plan will gather information from a broad group of people so that they can identify, develop, and prioritize new or unconventional applications of technology in ways that would provide significant advantage to future national security capabilities. For more information on this Plan, or to contribute your insights, visit the website.


Help Improve Our Research Efforts

ROR Seeks Survey Participants

The Pursuing Whitespace Opportunities ROR group has been working for the past 9 months researching what causes companies to be successful or unsuccessful in their pursuit of whitespace opportunities. They have developed a questionnaire that will aid them in their research. The survey will only take 15 - 20 minutes to fill out and preliminary results from the study will be discussed at the ROR Winter Meeting.

ROR Winter Meeting hotel reservation deadline is Feb. 2, 2015

ETN Survey on Future of Open Innovation

The External Technology Network (ETN) is seeking participants to help in their study of the future of open innovation. The survey, which takes approximately 2 minutes to fill out, asks about current trends that are affecting or will affect open innovation practices for R&D firms.


Attend The Economist's 2015 Innovation Forum

In order to remain competitive, companies must be ready to adapt to the latest industry innovations and the newest technologies. When should companies adopt new technology-driven systems? How can organizations remain flexible enough to capitalize on innovative ideas? Join IRI at The Economist's Innovation Forum to discuss and debate how to leverage new ideas and which technologies and economic forces will have the greatest impact on the way businesses innovate.

Speakers include Margo Georgiadis, President, Americas of Google, and David Cote, Chairman and chief executive of Honeywell.

IRI is an event partner, allowing members to receive $400 off the standard rate with our special code: EMPMPIRI.

Upcoming Events


2015 Annual Meeting
April 27 - 30
Seattle, WA

ROR Winter Meeting
February 24 - 25
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Hotel Reservation Deadline Feb. 2, 2015

Spring Networks Meeting
March 17 - 19*
San Diego, CA

Shaping Innovation Leaders**
May 30 - June 5
Evanston, IL


*Please note that the dates for the Spring Networks Meeting have been changed from March 16-18 to March 17-19.



**Shaping Innovation Leaders is a unique executive course for high-potential, mid-level technology managers to learn the skills necessary to succeed as they advance in their careers. Seats fill quickly and early registrations receive a discount. Seat prices for the course increase by $1,000 after January 16, 2015. Send in your registration form today to save on your attendance.



If you would like to have your company's latest product or service innovations featured in this monthly newsletter, please send an email to Greg Holden (

In This Issue
From the President
Member Spotlight
Help Improve Our Research Efforts
Upcoming Events
Stephen Hoover, PARC, on Future Trends
Welcome Mallory Smith
Rob Kirschbaum's New Endeavors
Stephen Hoover, PARC, on Future Trends

At this year's Annual Meeting, keynote speaker Stephen Hoover, CEO of PARC, will discuss the three trends affecting the manufacturing industry and how organizations can prepare for the changes ahead.

Catch a glimpse of Hoover's insights in the above video where he discusses other trends impacting the future of work, referencing a similar finding to the IRI2038 Futures Study, developed by the IRI membership.

Great minds think alike!

Annual Meeting registration is now open.
Welcome Mallory
to the IRI Staff
Mallory Smith
Manager, Member Relations and Networking
Mallory Smith joined the IRI staff as Manager, Member Relations and Networking, last month, handling the planning and execution of our Network meetings and assisting Erika Toman in member relations.

Her background includes degrees in history and political science from Transylvania University in her home state of Kentucky. During and after college, she worked as the Coordinator of Volunteer Services for a large bluegrass music festival in central Kentucky before moving to Rochester, NY. She completed her MA in Public Administration in 2011 and worked as a Community Director for the March of Dimes, coordinating fundraising events and volunteer engagement throughout upstate New York and later in Baltimore.

Join us in giving Mallory a warm and fuzzy welcome to the IRI staff!

She may be reached at or 703.647.2589.

Rob Kirschbaum's New Endeavors
Robert Kirschbaum
VP, Open Innovation
Royal DSM
After 37 years at Royal DSM, Rob Kirschbaum is retiring... but he has no intention of slowing down.


Rob will continue to assist DSM by staying on as senior adviser to the CTO, and he will continue representing DSM at IRI events. But Rob has also joined a Deloitte steering committee for a 3D-printing/additive manufacturing study; he will be teaching in Rotterdam, Maastricht, and Barcelona; and, he is consulting for a VCF and a Minneapolis-based start-up with his new company, Sakuragi Consult.


Join us in wishing Rob the very best in retirement as well as success in his many new endeavors!


Rob may be reached at


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