Inside Real Innovation

By Eugene A. Fitzgerald

Materials Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

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Through our own experience in fundamental innovation over the last 20+ years and through our innovation experience with corporations in the Kauffman Innovation Interface, we have developed a micro-scale innovation picture that captures the processes experienced by innovators. We use the real-life case of strained silicon integrated circuits to highlight aspects of what we refer to as iterative innovation. The details of the innovation process are incompatible with commonly held ‘linear model’ views of research to development to manufacturing. In view of the iterative innovation process, the roles of universities, corporations, and governments are defined more clearly from a historical perspective and we form a contemporary picture of the current inefficient innovation system which is leading to slower growth. This lecture is meant to be broad in nature, creating a common language of innovation that will be useful to the scientist or engineer as well as to those involved with business and finance.


Eugene Fitzgerald Eugene Fitzgerald is the Merton C. Flemings-SMA Professor of Materials Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Visiting Professor of Management and Visiting Engineering Professor at Cornell University. He is an SMA Fellow in the Singapore-MIT Alliance and is the founding director of the Business of Science and Technology Initiative at Cornell and the Kauffman Innovation Interface. He has substantial private sector business experience specializing in the commercialization of core technologies. He is the founder, co-founder, or founding team member in several start-up companies including AmberWave Systems Corporation, Contour Semiconductor, Paradigm Research, LLC, 4Power LLC, and The Water Initiative. He has 50+ issued US patents and has authored and co-authored more than 200 technical papers. He received a BS degree in Materials Science and Engineering in 1985 from MIT, and a PhD in from Cornell University in 1989.

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Philip F. Bagwell Lecture

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  • Eugene A. Fitzgerald (2010), "Inside Real Innovation,"

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