Industrial Research and Development Planning EnvironmentEvery 5 years, the Industrial Research Institute
prepares a strategic
plan (Industrial Research Institute, 1995b). According to the most recent document, the 1996-2000 planning environment will be shaped by the following S&T trends:
- Technology development will continue to occur increasingly
outside of the United States. Cooperative means to monitor, develop, or acquire technology worldwide will become increasingly important.
- Successful corporations will view intellectual property and technology as a strategic resource to be created,
acquired, shared, protected, or otherwise traded to gain worldwide market advantage.
- R&D organizations will be required to manage their activities against quantifiable business goals and objectives in the same manner as other operating functions
of the company.
- Pressures for short-term results from U.S. industrial research laboratories will continue; financial and analytical tools will be used increasingly to assess and communicate the potential rewards and risks of longer range programs;
reduced support for directed basic research can be expected to continue.
- R&D managers will face growing challenges to retain the best employees for long-term careers in technical roles and to manage a diversified, multicultural workforce. Fatter
organizational structures will limit opportunities, and leaner organizations will require fewer employees to accomplish more.
- Shifts between centralized, decentralized, and hybrid organizations will continue, and the expansion of knowledge will
- The image of S&T will require regular attention to overcome negative public perceptions.
- Changing world political and economic order will result in shifts in Federal R&D spending patterns and in the nature of the Federal laboratory
establishment. Private-sector funding of academic research will continue to grow, while Government funding will be uncertain.
- Issues of quality, environment, health, and safety will be the impetus for a new level of creativity in R&D to permit
industrial expansion to occur within the context of a more highly regulated climate.
- R&D can no longer be looked at in isolation from the larger activity of technology commercialization or innovation.