2017 Research Remix

Wednesday February 22, 2017Friday February 24, 2017
Research Triangle Park, NC

The ROR Winter Meeting is now the Research Remix!

Online Registration | PDF icon Registration Form.pdf

IRI will be partnering with NC State University's Center for Innovation Management Studies (CIMS) to bring you the most cutting edge research in R&D management.

During the Research Remix, attendees will:

  • Deep dive into key challenges identified by practitioners, including: strategic talent management, adding sustainability to the NPD toolbox, and design for mass customization.
  • Learn about cutting edge research into innovation management coming from academia:  data-driven decision making and bioinformatics.
  • Tour NC State's Center for Additive Manufacturing and Logistics


Archie K. Davis Conference Center
12 Davis Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709


Agenda (subject to change)

Day 1 – February 22nd          

8:00  - 8:30am


8:30 – 8:45am

Welcome and introduction

8:45 – 9:30am

Ms. Liz Rooks, President/CEO, Research Triangle Park

9:30 – 10:30am

Recruiting and Retaining Early Career Technical Talent

IRI Research Project; Strategic Challenges in R&D Talent Management research initiative

This project is looking to determine key elements of an early career development experience that maximizes the mutual benefit for the employee and employer and enhances retention of top talent.  The project is working to:

  1. Identify common attributes of workplace environments/cultures that are successful in recruiting and retaining early career technical professionals.
  2. Identify characteristics of successful development plans for early career hires in the first two years of employment.

10:30 – 11:00am


11:00am – 12:00pm

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Current computing technologies can help management de-risk business decisions by providing the facts necessary for rational decision-making.  The challenge is in framing ambiguous business statements as a series of incremental unambiguous actions that can be supported by data aggregation and sense-making.  Let the person manage ambiguity while the machine collects facts.


Dr. Michael Kowolenko, Principal Research Scholar, NC State University


Dr. Michael Kowolenko, Ph.D. is  currently the Director of the Institute of Next Generation Computing and Industry Fellow in the Center of Innovation Management Studies, Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University, and Director of the Institute Next Generation IT Systems.  His research and teaching activities focus on models of integrating data analytics in the area of critical thinking and decision-making.  Prior to joining NCSU, Dr. Kowolenko was a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry where his last position was as Senior Vice-President of Technical Operations and Product Supply in Wyeth’s Biotechnology and Vaccine Division. He has consulted with and instructed multiple companies and government agencies in the use of analytics in business decision making.

12:00 – 1:00pm


1:00 – 2:00pm

Product Design for Mass Customization

IRI Research Project

Customer demand for individually configured and customized products is on the rise across all industries. Companies are faced with the challenge of maintaining cost and quality while producing customized products with heightened response to individual customer needs. This project is using a breadth of approaches and the maturity of IRI members (and beyond) to determine best practices that achieve design for customization while identifying common pitfalls. The objective of the project is to understand the design implications of mass customization on manufacturers/producers by answering the following questions:

  • How do manufacturers/producers set up the architecture/platform to get to a place where they have effective mass customization?
  • How do we develop a robust, yet flexible, architecture that accommodates the evolution of the product line?
  • What are best practices and constraints/inhibitors in executing modularity and reducing complexity - balancing an optimized product?


Team members:  Charlie Wartgow, Harley-Davidson; Mark Zhuravel, TCS; Rob Williams, Boeing; Cole Harris, Harley Davidson; Mike Alstrin, Harley Davidson; Pushpa Manukonda, Deere & Co.; Kent Crawford, Schneider Electric; Tim Simpson, Penn State (SME)

2:00 – 2:45pm

The domestic dog.  Is our best friend also our closest biomedical ally in the fight against cancer?

Dr. Matthew Breen, Oscar J. Fletcher Distinguished Professor, Comparative Oncology Genetics

2:45 – 3:15pm


3:15 – 4:15pm

Adding Sustainability to the NPD Toolbox

IRI Research Project

This project aims to overcome the gap between a high level view on the importance of sustainability to a “how to do it” approach to integrating sustainability into the NPD process.  The team has used the literature and a brief survey to help identify examples of success and failure and why. 


This has been followed by select interviews with companies in different business cases and in different phases of the sustainability model to identify what worked, what didn’t, and ultimately to propose tools for best practices and check lists to help companies successfully integrate sustainability into their NPD processes.


Team members:  Debbie Kalish, Ingersoll Rand; John Taylor, Schneider Electric; Sue Burek, Newell Rubbermaid; Larry Schwartz, IP Business-Tech Solutions (SME)

4:15 – 5:00pm

Project Ideation

IRI Research depends on members for feedback on what challenges they are facing in their roles and therefore what research studies IRI should undertake to tackle those challenges.  Attendees will discuss their challenges and work with facilitators to create research questions for further study.

5:00 – 6:00pm


Hearty Reception – Hosted by


Day 2 – February 23rd

8:00  - 8:30am


8:30 – 9:15am

”Follow the Money” to your Potential Business Partners

For the past several years CIMS has been using big data analytics to address the strategic challenges confronting companies. By analyzing the publicly available data residing on the worldwide web we have been able to answer such strategic questions as:

  • What major trends are impacting our industry?
  • What market opportunities do these trends present to our company?
  • With whom might we partner to deliver solutions to these customers?


Paul Mugge, Professor of Innovation and Executive Director of CIMS


Mr. Paul Mugge is an Innovation Professor and Executive Director for Center of Innovation Management Studies at NC State University. He spent more than 35 years developing products and services for IBM. His past experience working in the product development field taught him that the way products are developed is more than “Good Engineering.” Innovation is the result of informed, cross-disciplinary teams working toward a common purpose and supported with world class processes and tools. Mugge spearheaded the task force that created the ThinkPad personal computer in 1992. He received the IBM Chairman’s Award from Lou V. Gerstner for the re-engineering of its hardware and software business.

9:15 – 10:15am

Strategic Planning in the Age of Liquid Talent

IRI Research Project; Strategic Challenges in R&D Talent Management research initiative

This project is working to identify a set of tools that R&D organizations can use to effectively employ technical liquid talent.  They are specifically looking at the following areas:

  1. Knowledge Management
    1. What successful techniques have been used by organizations to quickly bring on board liquid talent and to capture knowledge when they depart?
    2. What new techniques may exist to facilitate this?
  2. Human Resources
    1. What practices and policies are in place in companies that are successful in recruiting liquid talent (or retaining in the case of retiring talent that wishes to remain on in a different capacity).
    2. What does the compensation and benefits model look like at organizations with a higher level of liquid talent?
  3. Technology
    1. How do we incorporate external resources into our workforce planning models?
    2. What tools are available to provide shortcuts in the learning process (as YouTube has done)?
    3. What tools can facilitate communication and other logistical challenges (e.g. payment)?
  4. Planning
    1. How do organizations using liquid talent determine the best ratio of liquid talent to internal talent for each project?  Is this decided on a project to project basis?  Is there a set of criteria available?

10:15 – 11:00am


11:00 – 12:00pm

How to Harness Social Analytics for Increased Business Insights

There is growing interest in determining whether social media analytics can provide new insight into business performance. But, are these new data sources optimal or added noise for timely decision making? We will examine how to apply social analytics and predictive modeling techniques to social data that companies can gain or already possess about their customers.


Dr. Bill Rand, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University


William Rand examines the use of computational modeling techniques, like agent-based modeling, geographic information systems, social network analysis, natural language processing, and machine learning, to help understand and analyze complex systems, such as the diffusion of information, organizational learning, and economic markets. He received his doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Michigan in 2005 where he worked on the application of evolutionary computation techniques to dynamic environments. He is currently an assistant professor of business management at the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University.

12:00 – 1:00pm


1:00 – 2:00pm

Innovation Career Paths

IRI Research Project; Strategic Challenges in R&D Talent Management research initiative

The goals of this project are to gain a better understanding of the role of the leader of the R&D function in an organization (e.g. CTO, VP of R&D, CSO; CTO for shorthand), the path that individuals take to that position, the competencies required to function well in the role, how the role functions within a large R&D organization, and the future of that role.  To accomplish this, the following elements will be addressed:

  1. Determine commonalities in the path of individuals who are in the role of CTO. 
  2. Determine commonalities in the role of CTO as it currently stands in a variety of organizations.
    1. Where does the CTO sit relative to the rest of the organization? 
    2. What is the CTO’s relationship with other key functions (marketing, finance, etc.)
  3. Identify common skills and competencies that CTOs develop along the path to that role.
    1. Which are most important currently?
    2. Which skills and competencies will be important in the future?  Why?
  4. Hypothesize as to the how the role and the path to it will change in the future.

2:00 – 2:45pm

NC State University’s Research and Industry Partnerships

Dr. Alan Rebar, Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Economic Development, NC State and Dr. Genevieve Garland, Director of Research Operations, NC State

2:45 – 3:15pm


3:15 – 4:15pm

Performance Reviews for R&D

IRI Research Project; Strategic Challenges in R&D Talent Management research initiative

This project is working to determine effective ways that business objectives can be incorporated and communicated into R&D to provide motivation for technical staff and to measure performance of technical staff against those objectives.  Questions to be answered are:

  1. How can R&D organizations effectively gain a full picture of business objectives and timelines from the organization as a whole?
  2. What metrics can be created to help measure R&D performance against those objectives?
  3. Can a better sense of a staff member’s contributions to the business objectives of the organization serve as a motivation tool?  If so, what steps can R&D organizations take to maximize this?

4:15 – 4:30pm

Wrap up and adjourn

4:30 – 5:30pm



Day 3 – February 24th


Meet at NC State’s McKimmon Center for transportation to CAMAL

1101 Gorman Street

Raleigh, NC 27606

(You will not be able to park at CAMAL)

8:00 – 8:30am

Breakfast at NC State

8:30 – 11:00am

Tour of Center for Additive Manufacturing and Logistics (CAMAL)


Meeting adjourns


Registration fees

$499 by February 1; $599 thereafter


The list below is for attendee convenience only; IRI has not negotiated special rates at any of the hotels.

Hilton Garden Inn Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle Park
4620 S Miami Blvd, Durham, NC 27703
(919) 941-6066

Marriott at Research Triangle Park
4700 Guardian Dr., Durham, NC 27703
(919) 941-6200

Hotel Indigo Raleigh Durham Airport at RTP
151 Tatum Dr., Durham, NC 27703
(919) 474-3000

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Raleigh-Durham Airport at Research Triangle Park
4810 Page Creek Ln., Durham, NC 27703
(919) 941-6000


Need more information?

Contact Lee Green, Vice President, Knowledge Creation