Industrial Research and Development Planning Environment

Every 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Shifts between centralized, decentralized, and hybrid organizations will continue, and the expansion of knowledge will accelerate.
  7. The image of S&T will require regular attention to overcome negative public perceptions.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. R&D can no longer be looked at in isolation from the larger activity of technology commercialization or innovation.