IRI2038 Futures Study

Gain provocative insights into how futures trends, developments, and events impact the art and science of research and technology management over the next 25 years. Available in Print-on-Demand or Interactive PDF.

IRI embarked on a foresights research project as part of its 75th Anniversary in 2013. While celebrating our rich history of being the only cross-industry association acting to strengthen and enhance technology innovation management we also wondered what the future holds for innovation and R&D management. The focus question was: How might the future trends, developments, and events impact the art and science of research and technology management over the next 25 years?

We are unique in our ability to gain perspectives from diverse industry segments and develop plausible scenarios of the future of innovation management. Hundreds of IRI representatives and many others participated in workshops, interviews, an online game, and contributed trends and signals to the project. The Futures Study project team used a Strategic Foresight framework to examine hundreds of trends, weak signals, and implications in order to develop four future scenarios.

  • Africa Leapfrogs Developed Countries - An inability to build new capacity in the developed world due to increasing environmental regulations creates a new flexible and localized manufacturing process.
  • Everything's In Beta - The collapse of the complex global manufacturing ecosystem leads to a bifurcated economy underpinned by local manufacturing.
  • Three Roads To Innovation - In an era of virtual work and prize driven motivation, society creates three paths toward innovation.
  • Death of Distance vs. Megacities - Cities become the major political force in countries due to their embrace of smart technologies to manage transportation, energy, and waste.

What you'll learn from IRI2038 Futures Study

  1. The research process used
  2. How to read the scenarios
  3. Common features across all scenarios
  4. Implications for R&D management
    • Project Management
    • Portfolio Management
    • Value Propositions of Research Implications
    • Talent Management Implications

Create a favorable future for your own organization

Would you like us to present our findings and process to your organization or group? Our study illustrates how organizations can develop a better understating of potential futures and open a richer dialogue on new ways of thinking and identify potential blind spots or disruptions to products or services. Contact Lee Green if you would like to hear more.


R&D Toolkit

2021 R&D Trends Forecast

2020 R&D Trends Forecast

2019 R&D Trends Forecast

2018 R&D Trends Forecast

2017 R&D Trends Forecast

2016 R&D Trends Forecast

2016 Global R&D Funding Forecast (in partnership with R&D Magazine)

Sustainability Maturity Assessment Tool

Measuring the Effectiveness of R&D

Radical Innovation Portfolio Evaluation Tool

Value Innovation IQ Tool

Technology Value Program (TVP) 2.0


Additional Resources

Gender Diversity in Technology Leadership: Best Practices Playbook

A compilation of best practices assembled from published works and direct interviews with companies and industry affiliations through the work of IRI's Research-on-Research working group "Gender Diversity in Technology Leadership". Available as a digital edition only.