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WELCOME COURTLAND D. PERKINS PRESIDENT NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING I certainly do welcome all of you to this workshop, not only for the National Academy of Engineering but for the National Academy of Sciences as well. This workshop is being sponsored by the Committee on Transportation of the National Research Council, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Industrial Research Institute and its Research Corporation. It goes without saying that innovation has become a good word in this area. As a matter of fact, as I was just discussing with Ray Bisplinghoff, every two or three years we get a new group of studies on innovation. The one thing all of them have in common is that after very carefully run studies, and very carefully worded reports and recommenda- tions, nothing ever happens. That brings me back to one of the speakers today, Bob Charpie, who ran the first innovation study that I remember, when he was with the Commerce Technical Advisory Board. Later, Betsy Ancker-Johnson and Herb Holloman prepared studies, and now Jordan Baruch has conducted one. It is hoped that out of this welter of studies something will actually take place. In point of fact, in response to the recommendations of several NAE members, the NAE, under the chairmanship of Art Bueche of General Electric, is planning a colloquium in December l979. It is to be a study of the studies. The intent is to review all studies of innova- tion, and to see if there is any agreement on what the major factors are and at what point these will become strong recommendations. To whom these would go, I am not quite sure. I also mentioned to Ray Bisplinghoff that innovation is starting to look something like the Air Force. In my experience with the Air Force, we ran studies of the military uses for space systems about every third year. We would recommend all sorts of good things that way. We also conducted studies of manned bombers. These surfaced about every third year also. Innovation is now a very visible problem in Washington, and many of us are struggling to find out what can really be done, and who will do it. It is interesting to me that in this workshop you have picked a narrow objective. You are going to talk about innovation in transporta- tion. There is no question that whatever you decide upon will be
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extrapolated to other areas as well. Let us take on innovation in trans- portation then, and see if we can come up with some really important ideas, about which somebody may do something. Certainly we need innovation in transportation, not only because of the economics of the situation, but also to solve the difficult problems that we are facing, which will be even more difficult to solve in the near future. Therefore I am sure that those of us who are look- ing at the broad gauge problems of innovation in this city will be look- ing to this workshop to see if your results will lead us to a technique for some action, for some actual implementation. Therefore we welcome you. We hope you are successful in this ven- ture. I was delighted when I read the program. It is a very powerful one, and you have excellent speakers. You have very strong leaders for the different panels, and I am positive that if anything can be done, it will be done here. One of the areas of innovation that I do not see on the program is the one that concerns every one of us. This is the relationship between technical innovation and the educational process. Whether the problem gets fed into the problem of innovation in transportation, I do not know; however, it does appear to many of us that we have difficult prob- lems in the engineering education field. With respect to this particu- lar subject, I hope that somebody, or one of these panels, refers to this problem at least briefly. I have talked about this with our indus- trial members of the NAE on many occasions, and those connected with innovative industries are deeply concerned. I hope that this aspect of the problem is noted in this particular meeting, at least as a side issue. I think that it is a major issue. Anyway, we welcome you here. You are dealing with an important and complicated problem. So far we have not proceeded very far in actually getting anything done. We hope that the focus of innovation on transportation will give us the lead on how to get at this.