No. 441October 2016
Member Highlight
Stephanie Orellana
Don't Let One Thing Define You
Stephanie Orellana
VP, Service Delivery;
Director, Technology
Insights Solutions
NineSigma, Inc.
As many college students discover upon graduation, their field of study may not become their profession.
Stephanie Orellana, VP of Service Delivery and Director of Technology Insights Solutions at NineSigma, learned this lesson early in her career while volunteering at a hospital emergency room around the time she finished her bachelor's degree in biology at MIT.

"While holding a light for a physician who was stitching up a patient's injured hand," she said, "I realized that while I had to get through the moment without failing the doctor or the patient, I never wanted to do it again! That left me in a bit of a quandary, but a wise professor gave me what, at the time, was revolutionary advice:  I didn't have to make a decision right then about choosing one path for the rest of my life."

After working as a lab technician for several years, Stephanie eventually earned her PhD in physiology and pharmacology at the University of California San Diego. With a stint at the University of Washington, Seattle, as a post-doc and research faculty member, as well as time spent at Case Western Reserve University building her own research program, Stephanie eventually took a position at NineSigma after using her experiences up to that point to determine what she really enjoyed doing. When asked what her typical daily tasks at NineSigma are like, she said: "Juggling." Elaborating on her response she said that her greatest personal accomplishment as a result of her job was learning to be more comfortable with new people, which her role at NineSigma exposes her to on a regular basis.

As co-chair of IRI's Collaboration project team, part of the Digitalization and Its Implications in R&D Management research platform, we also asked Stephanie what one or two things really intrigue her about the group's findings and what they plan to report on at the 2016 IRI Member Summit in Chicago in less than two weeks.

"The research we've done has really validated my feeling that you have to get everyone speaking the same language to be effective at working together," she said. "The evolving digital world will give all of us access to a much broader and diverse community than we've ever had before, and understanding how to adapt or accommodate to others' ways of thinking and working will give us all greater opportunities to understand new concepts and to build new things."

Stephanie concluded our interview by offering some advice to young professionals coming up in her professional field: "No matter how neat, logical and sequential a path might appear, there is always something coming in from the side to modulate or disrupt a clean and straightforward story. So maintain an open mind, and remember that no one thing needs to define your career path and that life and careers evolve."

The 21st Century Brilliant Factory
Dr. Stephen Biller
Chief Manufacturing Scientist
GE Global Research
Imagine a factory that never stops and is constantly reinventing itself to improve products and how they are made, continuously. 

Enabled by a digital thread that weds virtual tools with physical tools and connects every part of the manufacturing supply chain from product designers to factory floor workers, this "Brilliant Factory" will employ technologies like 3D printing and crowdsourcing to revolutionize product designs and speed up development timelines. This is no dream. This factory is being made into reality by GE and Dr. Stephen Biller, Chief Manufacturing Scientist, GE Global Research, is coming to IRI's 2016 Member Summit in Chicago to explain how.

Don't miss out on his exciting keynote! There is still time to register (on site registrations also accepted).
The 2016 IRI Member Summit (#IRISummit16) is just days away! Come to Chicago to hear the research findings from three project teams investigating digitalization and its implications for R&D management. Topics will range from big data to digital collaboration tools and techniques to virtual experimentation and simulation. Don't miss out, register today!

2017 Annual Meeting Call for Proposals

Are you pushing beyond the traditional value chain to adopt a more dynamic and integrated collaboration culture across the business enterprise? We want to hear from you! Our call for proposals for the 2017 Annual Meeting is now open.

Submission deadline is Monday, December 5, 2016. Share your expertise within the R&D and innovation community and benefit by:
  • Connecting with innovation thought leaders from around the globe;
  • Building your professional knowledge via the exchange and sharing of ideas; and,
  • Gaining visibility among the R&D community and across broad industry segments.
Session formats include:
  • Breakout or training sessions
  • Express Learning sessions (case studies)
  • Ignite! (short, engaging talks on any subject) 
This event is IRI's largest gathering of innovation leaders discussing the latest techniques to enhance innovation and R&D. Come share your journey and gain valuable insights from your industry peers.

Learn more about the Annual Meeting and download your proposal submission form.

IRI Member Companies in the News

CASIS and the National Science Foundation Partner to Fund
$1.5M in Fluid Dynamics Investigations


Arkema Expands Global Polyamides Capacity

NASA, ONERA to Collaborate on Aircraft Noise Research

SRI International Awarded PVRD Funds to Investigate New Silicon Processes

Sonoco ThermoSafe Acquires Laminar Medica Group

US Army Research Lab Launches Online Tech Store

Berkeley Lab Report Compares 30 Solar Energy Solutions

LB Foster Awarded Contract for Historic Peace Bridge

Sacramento Kings Choose CommScope for Stadium's Fiber Tech Upgrades


Milliken and Co. Acquires Springfield LLC
Innovation News

~Wall Street Journal

United States
~National Science Foundation
~CFO Innovation
~Houston Chronicle
~Wall Street Journal
~National Science Foundation
~D Magazine
~Roadshow by CNET

~New York Times
~Huffington Post
~Financial Review
~Patently Apple
~The Star Online
~EE Times

~Harvard Business Review
~HC Online
~Harvard Business Review
~Crain's Detroit Business

Upcoming Events
2016 IRI Member Summit
"Digitalization and R&D"

October 16 - 19
JW Marriott
Chicago, IL

This year's Member Summit is powered largely by findings from IRI's groundbreaking, large-scale research project on digitalization and its impact on R&D management. The Member Summit is designed for maximum networking and exchanging of best practices.

Portfolio Management
Master Class - Optional Certification

@2016 Member Summit
Wednesday, 8:00 AM
Chicago, IL
October 19

"Biomimicry: Streamlining the Front End of Innovation for Environmentally Sustainable Products"

October 7, Noon Eastern

Houston Regional

NASA Johnson Space Center
Houston, TX
November 1


Cambridge Regional

Draper Lab
Cambridge, MA
November 10

Webinar button
"Open Innovation Success Starts 
with a Well Stated Problem"

November 4, Noon Eastern

Thank You 2016 Industry Sponsors!






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