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metrics and stage-gate systems for the very early phase of exploratory research activities. For example, 3M is considered a world-class model in innovation technology management and should serve as a valuable guide to many of us. It was recently reported at an IRI Workshop that 3M's experience in managing and setting metrics for exploratory discovery research demonstrated the continuing challenge of this task. In an effort to improve the discovery research process, enhanced management in the form of metrics, controls, and stage-gates was implemented for this first stage of research activities. Over a 3-year period it was recognized that this is not the area in which to apply detailed metrics and management controls. To flourish, this early creative research phase requires flexibility, degrees of freedom, and acceptance of uncertain outcomes. So we want to be careful in applying metrics to allow for degrees of freedom in early stages of research as well as accountability in a total portfolio of research programs.
Another major challenge we find in industrial research in today's globalized economy is slightly different. Over the last 20 years, there has been marked change in the profile and nature of industrial research. The time horizon of our programs and the nature of risk of these programs have in general been reduced. Are we sure we can fully use the fundamental research that is so effectively emanating from our university system as well as we have used this information in the recent past? Does this "gap" serve as an area that deserves additional attention? Should universities seek a higher degree of knowledge integration for research topics? Are there other approaches that should be considered as metrics for this area? The Advanced Technology Program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology has begun to address some of these issues. Nonetheless, it remains a rather modest portion of the total research profile. Are there other less controversial approaches worthy of consideration?