Ron Townsend-Battelle

Ron Townsend, Executive VP
Battelle Global Laboratory Operations

Whether you’re talking about a company or a country, the future holds critical challenges that will require innovative science and technology solutions.

For example, we need energy technologies that are both affordable and environmentally benign, cost-effective healthcare that will enable us to extend the benefits of modern medicine to underserved populations, and increasingly sophisticated advances in security to protect our national interests.

Meeting these and other significant global challenges will require not only investments in research and development, but also the ability to accelerate the rate of innovation—a task made even more challenging in the current economic environment of budget constraints and increasing competitive pressures.

So how do we do it?

As companies balance “insourcing” and “open innovation” as the foundation for technology development, there is a continuing role for in-house R&D capabilities. However, the adoption of new models for innovations requires new skills.

Research organizations need to position themselves to take full advantage of ideas generated from a myriad of sources around the world. They must be able to not only advance technology themselves, but also integrate their innovations with those developed by others.

As the demand for accelerating innovation increases, even the most applied research efforts need to maintain an active interface with the world of scientific discovery.

As we seek to create the technologies that will meet the greatest societal and commercial challenges, the ability to look in two directions at once, from technology to both discovery and to market, will become the most sought after skill of all.