No. 433February 2016
IRI Medalist Awarded National Medal
Joseph DeSimone Awarded National Medal of Technology and Innovation by White House

IRI Medalist Dr. Joseph DeSimone

At the end of 2015, the White House announced the latest recipients of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation---our Nation's highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology. The ceremony recognizing the recipients will be held in early 2016.

"Science and technology are fundamental to solving some of our Nation's biggest challenges," President Obama said. "The knowledge produced by these Americans today will carry our country's legacy of innovation forward and continue to help countless others around the world. Their work is a testament to American ingenuity."

Dr. DeSimone is among 8 recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation awarded by the White House at the end of last year. IRI members may recognize Dr. DeSimone from his award address at the 2014 Annual Meeting where he was honored with the IRI Medal. He later published his statements in an RTM article on diversity's role in the commercialization of basic science.

See Dr. DeSimone's award presentation at IRI's Annual Meeting and read his article in RTM:

RTM ARTICLE: The Role of Diversity in Commercializing Basic Science

The State of Big Data in 2016

What is meant when we talk about Big Data?

While many may assume this an easy question to answer, it turns out to be anything but. Why? Big Data, as the research team at IRI exploring Big Data as part of the Digitalization and Its Implications for R&D Management project, has uncovered, is a "Constellation of Buzzwords," or rather a confluence of a set of trends in areas such as computing, information processing, computational methods, analytical tools, and others. What's more, Big Data has become so pervasive that many tech companies and watch groups no longer describe it as an "emerging" technology.

Stephen Hoover, CEO of PARC, also noted at IRI's 2015 Annual Meeting that "Big data is not a solution---it's a problem," and that it's a problem organizations are going to have to deal with eventually. So the research group investigating Big Data at IRI recommended thinking of Big Data instead as Uncomfortable Data: data sets so large and unwieldy that standard analytical methods and tools don't work on them, requiring the development of a new set of tools and techniques capable of doing so.

This is the jumping off point for a discussion on the current state of Big Data, or "uncomfortable data," in 2016. The leadership team for the Big Data project at IRI have published a research primer on their subject titled "Big Data and the Future of R&D Management." To walk through their initial findings and the insights found within their report, the Big Data team are hosting an open webinar this Friday (Feb. 5) at noon Eastern.

Read the report, which explores the current state of Big Data analytics, issues in defining Big Data, and ways that Big Data is helping R&D planning and research efforts, and then join the conversation.

Learn about:
  • How Big Data Can Change R&D Planning;
  • How Big Data Can Enable New Approaches to R&D;
  • How Big Data Might Disrupt R&D.

Attendance limited

The Lunar IceCube: Big Mission, Small Package
Morehead Gets Permission to Include Shoebox-Sized Research Probe for Next Moon Mission

Researchers have already begun calling the inclusion of Morehead State University's Lunar IceCube module a paradigm shift in interplanetary science. The mission is one of several public-private partnerships chosen under NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Broad Agency Announcement for the development of advanced exploration systems. Among the first small satellites to explore deep space, Lunar IceCube will help lay a foundation for future small-scale planetary missions, mission scientists have said.

In addition to providing useful scientific data, Lunar IceCube will help inform NASA's strategy for sending humans farther into the solar system. The ability to search for useful assets can potentially enable astronauts to manufacture fuel and other provisions needed to sustain a crew for a journey to Mars, reducing the amount of fuel and weight that NASA would need to transport from Earth.

Leading the project is Dr. Benjamin Malphrus,a professor of space science at Morehead State University, alongside scientists and researchers from the Busek Company based in Massachusetts as well as NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Malphrus will be in attendance at IRI's Spring Networks Meeting in Louisville, KY, March 7 - 9, to talk about this project and the technology management practices that fit best with the unusual circumstances of the space-based sciences.

Early registration deadline: February 15
New IRI Members
Eight Organizations Have Already Joined IRI in 2016!



Measuring the Effectiveness of R&D
R&D Practitioners Share What Works

since publication, an IRI research group collected and shared insights gained by interviewing and surveying companies about what metrics-based tools and techniques work best for measuring R&D performance. Their findings make the article a valuable resource for early-career R&D managers and executives alike and provide an overview of the IRI-developed Technology Value Pyramid (TVP).

The group discovered, after distributing and analyzing two separate surveys, that some metrics work better than others depending on business or innovation type. Choosing a metric, they argued, depends on two important factors. First, choosing metrics should be done within similar business types. Second, the managers choosing the metrics need to attempt to anticipate what the company (or its shareholders) will do with the information gathered by the metrics. After all, R&D's efforts, as measured by the metrics chosen, should show correlation between R&D's activities and the company's stated mission and objectives.

Read the article to learn more about metrics-based approaches to valuing R&D effectiveness and share it with your team, who may not be familiar with these tools.

IRI Member Companies in the News

Evonik and AkzoNobel Break Ground on Jointly Operated Membrane Electrolysis Plant in Germany

Applied Materials' Chorng-Ping Chang Named 2016 IEEE Fellow

Crown to Build New Specialty Beverage Can Plant in Tioga County, NY

New Gator™ Utility Vehicle Provides Utility and Power to Meet Customer Needs

Sappi North America Awarded 2016 Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Grant

Study: RTI-Developed Thin-Film Coolers Remove Up to 25 Times More Heat

Saudi Aramco and Pemex Sign MOU, Establish Grounds for Collaboration

P&G's 'Old Spice' Brand Ups Ante on Innovation with New Line of Anti-Persperants

Novozymes and Adisseo Launch Their First Probiotic for Poultry

New Gore Polyvent XS: Small Design. Big Capabilities.

NASA Selects Orbital ATK for New 8-Year Contract to Deliver
Cargo to the International Space Station

In Case You Missed It

The TCC Will Host its First Wearable Technologies 
Event April 26 at the NASA Johnson Space Center

Can STEM Be Education's Disruptive Innovation?


Invest Ottawa Launches Innovation Management Clinic for Businesses

UK Scientists Given Green Light to Genetically Modify Human Embryos

SkyBender: Google Tests Out
Drone-Delivered 5G Internet

Intel CIO Uses Technology to Cut Costs but Hires More Staff

What is Apple Inc. Spending All of Those

R&D Dollars On?

OP-ED: TPP Will Help Ensure Global Leadership of US Innovation Sector

Lessons of Leadership from Fast Company's Innovation Festival

Learn More About NASA Tech with These
Publicly Accessible Online Portals

NASA's Technology Transfer Program ensures that technologies developed for missions in exploration and discovery are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to the Nation.

This monthly magazine features exclusive reports of innovations developed by NASA and its industry partners/contractors that can be applied to develop new/improved products and solve engineering or manufacturing problems.

New Blog on IRI's

Keep Cool and Carry On: Innovation Contests and Hershey

NineSigma's Eloise Young looks at innovation competitions at Hershey and explores ways of making a useful contest for solving big challenges.

Have an exciting innovation, problem solving technique, or other unique R&D insight you'd like to share? Send us an email and learn how you can become a contributor to IRI's Flashpoint!
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Upcoming Events
2016 Annual Meeting
Orlando, FL
May 23 - 26

Breakthroughs in science and technology (S&T) continue to happen at a rapid pace, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, the internet of things (IoT), nanomaterials, and advanced robotics, to name just a few. The 2016 IRI Annual Meeting will explore recent S&T trends and discuss case studies of how companies have turned such trends into new growth areas.

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Spring Networks Meeting
Louisville, KY
March 7 - 9

Shaping Innovation Leaders
Evanston, IL
June 4 - 10

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