Linda Sanford gave a presentation at the MIT-IBM Innovation lecture series this fall. (Sanford is the Senior VP Enterprise On Demand Transformation and Information Technology.) It was an impressive performance. Sanford supplied a "big picture" treatment of the changing tectonics of the corporate world, noting especially:
- the shift away from cost-cutting as the chief preoccupation of senior managers
- the new interest in top line growth
- the creation of a less silo-ed, less hierarchical, less boundaried, less self sufficient, less top-down corporation in a newly horizontal, collaborative, open world
- the new commitment to innovation as a first order of business
This raised the question of where innovation comes from, and Sanford reported the result of an IBM survey of corporate CEOs. (I am not sure of the timing or the dimensions of this study.)
Sanford pointed out that the 20th century CEOs would likely have identified the university world as an important source of innovation, even as they gave pride of place to their own internal research and development departments. This has changed. Now both come in at the bottom of the array.
I would be surprised if there was a journalist at this presentation, but, hey, this looks like a story to me. The annual investment made in the academic world is very large. And now it looks as if the R-O-I (return on investment) is beginning to disappoint.
How do we fix the university?
Tomorrow: b-schools, d-schools, e-schools and innovation
Sanford, Linda. 2006. Building an Innovation Company for the 21st Century. MIT-IBM Innovation Lecture Series. October 17, 2006. here.
The graphic above is take from Ms. Sanford’s IBM-MIT presentation. It is used without permission. I am hoping IBM’s commitment to collaboration and openness extends far enough to allow me to reuse this graphic here.