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Exploratory Research as Sectors

Autor:   •  June 23, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,488 Words (14 Pages)  •  924 Views

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Exploratory Research as Sectors

David Tennenhouse, Director of Intel Research, defined exploratory research as "research that fell outside of Intel's silicon ‘roadmap' and the plan that focused most of the firm's R&D resources on technologies that would ensure Moore's Law continued to hold in [the] future". With the exploratory research divided into different sectors, the company eventually mainly focused on microelectrical mechanical system (MEMS), distributed systems (ubiquitous computing), biotechnology, and machine learning (statistics and machine vision).

Intel Research focuses on many of the different innovation strategies to put the company at a competitive advantage. The review process implemented for introducing new projects not only focuses on product innovation, but also process innovation at the same time. "Every two years, we have a research planning summit where about 100 of the company's leading technologists meet to discuss new topics that have surfaced internally, externally – or just on [the] folks' personal ‘radar'." This increases product innovation as many of the great minds around the world bring their ideas to Intel Research which have potential in great success. Furthermore, the fashion that the company continuously changes the way it conducts its business to ensure the continuous inflow of new ideas show that they also value process innovation. "Tennenhouse realized that while the uses of university-grant funding and internal research projects were central to building an exploratory research network, there was a missing piece…in response to these concerns, he decided to set up a number of labs close to existing universities."

In addition to the company's focus on product and process innovation, Intel Research had a mission that focused on radical innovation by accepting "some ‘outlier' grants and SRPs and corporate venture investments" every two years and incremental innovation in the long run as the company felt it was "important to periodically review whether we have the right sectors."

With the constant review of information available within the sectors, Intel Research also had both competence enhancing and destroying innovation . Through incremental innovation, the company is able to build on existing knowledge when projects showed potential or destroying existing knowledge if the company felt "nothing much was happening." For example, "we had an effort on robotics that ramped up too early… by cutting it off early on, we left the door open to re-enter this space later."

However, dividing all the research up into sectors only allows Intel Research to focus on component rather than architectural innovation. Information gained only occurs within each distinct research lab, it does not allow for "change


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