EIRMA Insights 2017

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New: Upload the EIRMA's Insights 2016, a synthesis of recent activities:

EIRMA Insight is based on the discussions of senior industrial research and innovation practitioners at EIRMA meetings. 

Here you will find the EIRMA Insight of 2017:



Big Data and Artificial Intelligence 

How will the advent of Big Data analytics and artificial intelligence change the way that knowledge is managed in large organisations? Members of EIRMA’s Special Interest Group on Knowledge Management (KM) met at Philips Center in Amsterdam, in November, to discuss this rapidly evolving topic.

In this EIRMA Insight you can read about:

  •  How IBM is trying to use machine-learning techniques to recognise relationships among concepts held in very large datasets and so to make inferences and develop new knowledge
  •       How a researcher at the University of Cambridge is trying to use machine-learning techniques, applied to very large patent databases, to help R&D managers decide which technologies to develop next
  •      Details of Philips’ approach to applying knowledge management across its organisation to make it easier to connect all the disciplines within the company necessary to enable new healthcare products and services
  •      DSM’s efforts to create a toolbox of Big Data strategies it can apply across its business
  •      Philips’ work on humanising the application of Big Data by focusing its use on customer stories 
  •      Nestlé’s efforts to move towards a data-driven business, where data analytics is applied right from consumer preference testing through to manufacturing
  •     How TomTom built a business on selling satellite navigation systems, and then started to exploit the data that came back from those satnavs to build another business
  •      Participants’ thoughts on:
  • o How to get started with Big Data and AI
  • o Organisation and deployment
  • o Implementing processes and tools to extract knowledge from Big Data
  • o The challenge of taking on data-mining and AI techniques

Logged-in members can download the Insight here


Links and Downloads: 

The evolving global IP landscape

In June 2017, members of EIRMA’s Special Interest Group on Intellectual Asset Management met in Berlin to discuss how the European IP landscape is evolving. In November, the group met at the headquarters of Italy’s National Research Council (CNR) in Rome to continue this discussion, with a focus on protecting trade secrets in the US, China and Italy.

In this Insight you can read about:

  •  The latest updates to the EU directive on trade secrets treat reverse engineering and whistle-blowers
  •       How China may just have broadened its definition of a ’trade secret’ by doing away with the requirement for it to have ‘practical utility’
  •      How America is trying to create a uniform definition of a trade secret with the signing into law of the Defend Trade Secrets Act
  •      How the new Act treats whistle-blowers
  •      A new ‘patent killing’ instrument available under US law, which currently offers patent challengers about two chances in three to invalidate a patent
  •      The enormous challenge presented by product liability law in the US – and what you can do about it
  •     The ‘poisoned chalice’ of working as a judge’s expert in the Italian IP system, in which the role offers great power, demands great responsibility – and isn’t paid very well
  •      The challenge of balancing openness and Ip protection in a public research organisation  which is increasingly encouraged to partner with industry 

Members can download the EIRMA Insight here.


Links and Downloads: 


Reducing Industry's Impact on the Planet

Businesses have to grow to survive, and growth usually means consuming more energy and materials. Give the world’s limited resources, and the impact of energy consumption on climate change, how can companies grow their businesses sustainably?

EIRMA members at Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, The Netherlands, for a workshop on sustainability in business. In this EIRMA Insight you can read:

  •  How the United Nations, through its UNIDAO agency, is working to increase sustainability among the SMEs that make up the vast majority of the world's businesses
  •       How Europe’s work on developing the advanced materials vital to clean energy and e-mobility strategies is being under-exploited here, and what is being done to sustain this industry, which is so important to sustainability
  •      The importance of creating a common language for sustainability, to increase credibility and improve benchmarking,
  •      How Solvay is integrating sustainability into its portfolio management strategy, and the tools they have developed to help them do it
  •      How Unilever is using its global reach to try to shift consumer behaviour towards more sustainable options - and how hard it is to make that work

Members can download the EIRMA Insight here.


Links and Downloads: 


EIRMA Insights 2017

2016 was a year of astonishing political change. In 2017, the world settled down to the hard work of adapting to the new normal. 

Industry faced its own challenges, as pressure to increase returns drove calls for mature businesses to innovate more quickly

The EIRMA community responded by gathering groups of research, development and innovation specialists to share their most up-to-date, practical responses to issues such as accelerating innovation, digitalisation, big data and artificial inteligence, the changing global IP landscape, climate change and sustainability, and more

Their accumulated wisdom is reflected in the EIRMA Insights presented here. 

You can review EIRMA's 2017 programme here

And look ahead to 2018 soon here. 


Links and Downloads: 


Extracting the Value from Innovation

The purpose of innovation is to extract value from an idea, such as a new technology or a new combination of existing capabilities – and this is widely understood. But how do you extract the most value from an innovation? This is much less well understood.

Fortunately there’s a methodology for exploring innovation options in order to discover the approach which will deliver the most value, and this process was outlined in a value innovation workshop hosted by Chris Shilling of Phoreon in September.

In this EIRMA Insight you can learn about:

  •  The ten stages of the value innovation process,
  •       How to discover the Most Important Customer in your innovation value chain,
  •      How to develop ‘value curves’, and what you can do with them,
  •     The power of contextual interviews – and a methodology for extracting the most insights from them,
  •      Defining a value proposition,
  •  Deciding how to deliver it,
  •       And how to check that what you want to deliver still matters to your Most Important Customer.
The technique is explained with reference to Chris’ experience in helping a bio-sensing start-up discover how to get the most value from its new technology. You can read the EIRMA Insight here.

Links and Downloads: 


The evolving European IP landscape

The European IP landscape is  evolving rapidly at the moment, with the introduction of several measures that may streamline the process of protecting IP created in Europe, and one which presents a considerable challenge. Members of EIRMA’s Special Interest Group on Intellectual Asset Management met in Berlin earlier this year to hear speakers from Hogan Lovells, Bird&Bird, WIPO, and Ernst&Young, discuss:

  •  The European trade secret directive
  •       The unitary patent and its related unitary patent court
  •      The patent prosecution highway and the patent cooperation treaty
  •     The General Data Protection Regulation 
Find out more how each of these instruments affect the protection of European IP in our EIRMA Insight, available here.

Links and Downloads: 


Accelerating Innovation

Many companies feel under pressure to develop an innovation strategy to develop new products and services. Companies that already have an innovation strategy are being pressed to find ways to innovate more quickly. In response, EIRAM members met in Prague in June to discuss accelerating innovation, in companies as diverse as medical diagnostics start-up QuantuMDx, LEGO Group and GE, among others.

In this EIRMA Insight you can find out:

  •  How QuantuMDx is rapidly evolving its innovation approach as the company grows
  •       How LEGO Group is fusing agile techniques championed in software development with traditional StageGate strategies
  •      How host company ComAp is making room for more innovation as it matures
  •     Techniques for accelerating new product development, from Innovation Family
  •      A strategy for accelerating disruptive innovation, from Innovation Family
  •  Details of the way in which GE has retooled its innovation approach, and it supporting processes, to move more quickly
  •       The use of lean strategies in innovation, from Arthur D Little
To read the EIRMA Insight on Accelerating Innovation, click here.

Links and Downloads: 


Digitalisation: Friend or foe? 

How will European industry, and especially its research and development (R&D) function, be affected by the rapid shift of so many products and processes into the digital realm? EIRMA members met in Dublin in May 2017 to discuss these issues at the organisation’s annual conference.

This EIRMA Insight reflects the presentations and discussions at the meeting. In it you can read about:

  •  Why one futurist thinks the pace of change in our lives will never again be as slow as it is now
  •       framework for approaching digitalisation, developed by Arthur D Little
  •      How the European Commission is trying to accelerate the uptake of digitalisation strategies
  •     Examples of digitalisation in action, at DuPont, Rolls-Royce, GE and Royal DSM
  •      Open Innovation 2.0, an update of open innovation strategies for this more dynamic era of change
  •  How the Responsible Innovation agenda is beginning to get traction
  •       And how to nominate the next CTO of the Year
The Insight includes an Executive Summary and a list of Action Points, things you start doing right now to begin your digitalisation journey.

Members can download the insight here.

Links and Downloads: 


From weak signals to big data analysis

How can knowledge managers help users navigate the tsunami of digital data that is now available online to find the information that matters most to them?

Members of EIRMA’s Special Interest Group on Knowledge Management met at the FrieslandCampina Innovation Center in Wageningen, the Netherlands, to discuss the topic. Three key themes emerged from the meeting: the role of knowledge management (KM) in the organisation; the tools and strategies that are currently in use; and the cultural change necessary to speed up the sharing of information in large organisations.

In this EIRMA Insight you can read about:

  •  The five pillars of an effective technology intelligence operation within an innovation ecosystem, according to global consultancy Arthur D Little
  •       How technology intelligence activities are spreading into the wider business, and how knowledge managers can support this shift
  •      The role of technology scouting in technology intelligence, and some of the key tools that Siemens is trying out to accelerate the process
  •     How to exploit advanced patent analysis in technology intelligence
  •      Early work at Philips Research to use cognitive computing strategies to mine published research for new insights
  •  Strategies for using a centralised knowledge repository to improve sharing and the alignment of R&D practices
  •       The use of artificial intelligence at Nestle to help people find the right people to talk to in the business
  •       And an exploration of the cultural issues involved in moving from shielding to sharing knowledge


Members can download the Insight here.

Links and Downloads: 


Hacking the R&D organisation for a volatile World

The world is becoming more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, presenting us with a wide range of social, political and ethical dilemmas. In R&D, the tension between the demand for disruptive innovations that change a company’s fortunes overnight and the long-term investment necessary to enable such innovations has never been greater.

EIRMA members met at Procter&Gamble’s InQbet innovation hub in Brussels for a hands-on hackathon focused on re-engineering the R&D function for this  increasingly challenging world.

In this EIRMA Insight you can read about:

  •  The trade-offs that some organisations are making between adaptability and scalability
  •       The power of modularity, in documents, processes and even organisations
  •      How Procter&Gamble, GE, and Solvay are re-engineering their organisations to face these challenges
  •     And what happened when EIRMA members set out to design the perfect R&D organisation for today  

Members can download the Insight here.

There’s also a gallery of images from the hackathon here.

Links and Downloads: 


What Hollywood can teach us about managing research, development and innovation 

Movies used to be made by studios that did it all, from discovering stars and developing scripts through to distributing the finished product. That all changed in the 1960s to a much more fluid system in which a core team assembles an evolving group of specialists to work together to make and sell a movie. 

EIRMA members met at this year’s Representatives' Round Table in Lisbon to discuss the lessons that can be learnt from this approach by the R&D community, as it faces more pressure to deliver better results faster.

In this EIRMA Insight you can find out:

  •  Why moving to a Hollywood model means more than just doing more outsourcing
  •       The shifts in skills and attitudes necessary to make a success of applying this new approach
  •      What to think about when breaking down the work on hand into components that can be handled by third parties
  •     The HR implications - how will you pay the superstar R&D consultants that will emerge as the Hollywood model gets established, and how will the rest of the R&D ecosystem sustain itself and its skills when work becomes casualised
  •  Real-life experiences from organisations that are already experimenting with this approach
  •  What happens when the research team outsources the management 

There’s also an update on EIRMA’s work on Responsible Innovation, an increasingly important topic as the European Commission starts setting the ground rules for participation in its successor to H2020.

Members can download the Insight here.

Links and Downloads: 


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