The cover story of this week’s BusinessWeek is on corporate R&D in the United States. Four videos stand out as overviewed here.

An audio interview with Steve Hamm, the lead journalist, pulls together thinking behind the stories. BusinessWeek confusingly splits the text, video and audio content.

Four videos

  1. RESEARCH COLLABORATION – The lead story is on IBM and what it is doing about collaboration on a global scale. Big Blues Global Lab is a video conversation about “collaboratories” at IBM. It’s by Steve Hamm, senior technology journalist with BusinessWeek. It’s pitched as “The radical future of R&D”. The content of the video is less puff than that description. It covers IBM’s expection of global-level R&D using its 3,000-scientist research department plus external collaborators;  IBM’s IP protection approach in its collaboration, including with universities; and the labelling of alternative energy and related research as “smart planet” research. In Hamm’s text piece on IBM, he writes: “IBM has hammered out six deals for collaboratories in short order—in Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, China, Ireland, Taiwan, and India.”
  2. ORGANISATIONAL AND PRODUCT COLLABORATION – For Hewlett-Packard open APIs are important. Collaboration in R&D, is a video conversation with Shane Robison, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Hewlett-Packard. He emphasises HP’s collaborations with universities and government agencies and the importance of open standards, open architecture, and open applications interfaces (APIs). As our further reading list below attests, we’ve written a great deal about things “open” in recent years.
  3. SOFTWARE COLLABORATION – Open API’s R Us. Letting Outside Developers In, is a video interview with Mashery CEO, Oren Michels. It’s videos like this that confirm the role of video as a media form, highlighting things in a few minutes where text would drown us in words. Michaels talks about large U.S. media, software and general business players involved in sharing their application interface (API). They include Facebook, eBay, Apple’s App Store, Amazon, Best Buy, World Bank, New York Times, and Netflix (a Mashery client).
  4. COLLABORATION IS CRITICAL – Fix upstream research says consultant. In R&D Troubles in the U.S., management consultant and author Adrian Slywotzky pitches his thinking on the reasons behind what he claims is a “completely dry” pipeline of research and development in the U.S. His view is that what he calls “upstream R&D” (whether done in universities, corporations or government agencies) is broken in the U.S. while the downstream venture capital and IPO infrastructure is now operating as a shell of its former self. His solution is to call for the redevelopment of the former vibrant network of U.S. research labs, a push for “acceleration strategies” such as the Manhattan project and the Apollo program, recovery of corporate R&D labs such as PARC, Bell labs and RCA labs, and rebuilding of upstream collaborations between government and corporate America.

Our thinking and work on collaborative arrangements

As to what is meant by “collaboration”, here’s my video explaining various types of contract-based collaborations – Contracts for Business Collaborators.

As the further reading list below indicates, for some time I’ve studied how to best form and resolve issues for collaborative arrangements.This has meant developing for various types of collaborations a suite of template contracts, guides, checklists and questionnaires.

Forming or divorcing from collaborative arrangements has been a major need for our clients in recent months. We’ve worked on collaborations for such disparate new knowledge as increasing efficiency in coal-fired electricity energy power plants through to forming a shareholders agreement for a team building tools for developers of online games.

Our further reading list: