Business Case Studies, Executive Interviews, Curtis R Carlson on Innovation

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Interview with Curtis R Carlson on Innovation

November 2006 - By Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary

Continuous value creation (CVC) develops an enterprise-wide culture that focuses on the rapid creation of new customer value. CVC allows for both top-down and bottom-up approaches —organizations must do both"
— Dr. Curtis R Carlson
Effective executive interview with Dr. Curtis R Carlson on Innovation

Curtis R Carlson became president and chief executive officer of SRI International in December 1998. Previously, he spent over 20 years with Sarnoff Corporation, a wholly owned SRI subsidiary.

In 1973, Carlson joined RCA Laboratories, which became part of SRI in 1987 as the Sarnoff Corporation. As head of Ventures and Licensing at Sarnoff, he helped found more than 12 new companies. He started and helped lead the high-definition television (HDTV) program that became the US standard and in 1997 won an Emmy® Award for outstanding technical achievement for Sarnoff. Another team started and led by Carlson won an Emmy® for Sarnoff in 2000 for a system that measures broadcast image quality.

    He has been on numerous public and private boards, including Nuance Communications (computer speech recognition), Bridge Pharmaceuticals (drug development), Pyramid Vision Technologies (computer vision), Sensar (iris biometric identification), and Sarif (LCD displays). Currently he is a member of General Motor's Science and TechnologyAdvisory Board and also serves as co-chairman of the ScientificAdvisory Board of the Singapore National Research Foundation. In 2006, he won the Otto Schade Prize for Display Performance and Image Quality from the Society for Information Display with Dr. Roger Cohen. Additionally, in 2006, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree

from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In 2002, he received the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Award from Worcester Polytechnic Institute for his professional achievements. Carlson was a visiting distinguished scientist at the University of Washington in 1998. He is a Kobe Ambassador for SRI's@contributions to Kobe, Japan.

Carlson has served on many government task forces, including the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, the US Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board, and the Defense Science Board task force on biochemical defense. He was a member of the original team that helped create the Army's Federated Laboratories. He was a founding member of the National Information Display Laboratory (NIDL) at Sarnoff, a new model for government-industry technology development and commercialization, which grew into the National Technology Alliance.

He has published or presented more than 50 technical publications and holds fundamental patents in the fields of image quality, image coding, and computer vision. He has written a book with William Wilmot called Innovation: The Five Disciplines for Creating What CustomersWant, published inAugust 2006 by Crown, a division of Random House. Innovation describes how SRI's unique process for innovation can be applied to all types of commercial and non-profit enterprises, including the government.

Carlson is a Tau Beta Pi graduate in physics fromWorcester Polytechnic Institute, where he was named in Who's Who Among Students. His MS and Ph.D. degrees are from Rutgers University. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Sigma Xi. Carlson played the violin professionally at 15 and it remains his primary avocation.

Useful for Understanding of:

  • Definition of Innovation
  • The importance of Innovation
  • A Disciplined Approach to Fostering Innovation Culture
  • Continuous Value Creation (CVC)
  • Failure Tolerance Limits.
Originally Published in Effective Executive, IUP
Effective Executive Reference No. 03M-2006-11-11-06
IBSCDC Reference No. INT0043
Year and Month of Publication November 2006
Keywords Curtis R Carlson, Definition of Innovation, The importance of Innovation, A ‘Disciplined Approach' to Fostering Innovation Culture, Continuous Value Creation (CVC), Failure Tolerance Limits

1. ICMR Innovation Case Studies
2. ICMR Case Collection
3. Case Study Volumes

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