Colloquium: August 2, 2011

Collaborative Innovation: Novel Approaches to University-Industry-Government Partnerships in Creating a Smarter Planet

Dr. Bernard S Meyerson, IBM Fellow VP, Innovation, IBM Corp HQ

TUESDAY: August 2, 2011 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium
(video) within the Langley firewall only


There are many aspects of today’s technology that are literally approaching their physical limits. As a result, the cost of driving these technologies forward has been rising exponentially year on year. Furthermore, the intellectual horsepower required to successfully address the challenge this creates has similarly become a tremendous issue. One must therefore undertake to solve the dual issues of competency and financial viability. To do so, IBM adopted a strategy of Collaborative Innovation, which has changed the competitive landscape in many arena’s thought to be the sole province of individual companies struggling against one-another. Embracing the broadest possible spectrum of collaborators, the virtue of this strategy has been proven time and again in a series of solutions to Grand Challenge class problems that had eluded solution for long periods of time. I will review several examples of such outcomes, and discuss the strategy we’ve implemented to link with all manner of collaborating entities.


Bernard S MeyersonDr. Meyerson now serves as the Vice President for Innovation, and leads IBM’s Global University Relations Function within IBM’s Corporate HQ organization. He is also responsible for the IBM Academy, a selfgoverned organization of ~1000 technical executives and senior technical leaders from across IBM. Dr. Meyerson was appointed to this position in October 2009. Dr. Meyerson is also a member of CEO Sam Palmisano’s Integration and Values Team, the senior executive group integrating the business activities of IBM’s many disparate organizations and geographies.

In 1980, Dr. Meyerson joined IBM Research as a Staff member, leading the development of silicon:germanium and other high performance technologies over a period of 10 years.

In 1992, Dr. Meyerson was appointed the sole IBM Fellow that year by IBM’s Chairman, this being IBM’s highest technical honor. In 2001 he was appointed Chief Technologist of IBM’s Technology Group, and in 2003 he assumed operational responsibility for IBM’s global Semiconductor R&D efforts. In that role Dr. Meyerson led the world’s largest semiconductor development consortium – members being IBM, Sony, Toshiba, AMD, Samsung, Chartered Semiconductor, and Infineon. In his most recent role, Dr. Meyerson was VP of Strategic Alliances and CTO for the IBM Systems and Technology group, inclusive its M&A practice.

Dr. Meyerson is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE). He is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has received numerous technical and business awards for his work, which include: the Materials Research Society Medal, the Electrochemical Society Electronics Division Award, the IEEE Ernst Weber Award, the Electron Devices Society J. J. Ebers Award, and the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from SEMI. He was most recently announced as having won the 2011 Pake Prize of the American Physical Society, honoring him for his combined original scientific research and subsequent leadership in managing a major business for IBM.

For his innovation efforts, Dr. Meyerson was cited as “Inventor of the Year” by the New York State Legislature in 1998, and he was recognized as “United States Distinguished Inventor of the Year” by the US IP Law Association and the Patent and Trademark office in 1999. He was most recently recognized in May of 2008 as “Inventor of the Year” by the New York State Intellectual Property Lawyers Association.

Dr. Meyerson and his team was the subject of a long-running study on the topic of innovation in large organizations, culminating in the 2001 Harvard Business School Press publication titled: “Radical Innovation; How Mature Companies Can Outsmart Upstarts.” More recently, a formal business case study of what has now evolved into IBM’s Semiconductor Strategy of Collaborative Innovation was featured as part of Harvard Business School’s 100th anniversary event in March of 2008, and the underlying case is now taught as part of the HBS MBA curriculum since January 2009.