Subject: Re: How to run an FSB R&D lab (maybe)
From: Mark Eichin <eichin@thok.org>
Date: 21 Mar 2002 11:46:16 -0500

Even in an academic setting (MIT and CMU are examples from personal
experience) there are often *also* contexts in which the mix is
leavened by "outsiders" (usually alumni, sometimes staff) with Real
World Experience(tm) to get the kind of thing Tom is talking about.

And note also that those environments (Athena, Andrew) are (1) worth
looking at (2) take 10 years to become off-the-shelf, *because*
they're heavily populated with *inexperienced* but creative and
unfettered students, with "experience" pointing out more of the "well,
that didn't work last time, at least try something unknown" instead of
the kind of "here's a direction people want" that a business would
expect to head in.

It's also a "pure overhead" proposition - a university has a set of
mixed goals that encourage this (and a *very long term* ROI picture
involving social good *and* successful alumni.)  Corporations tend to
only justify this kind of overhead when times are good; in lean times
[the last 2 years show it well] many commercial research institutions
fade away [Cambridge MA alone has lost many - Apple, Hitachi, OSF
[though there the research institute outlasted the company :-)] come
immediately to mind...]