The Formula for Innovation, Celebrating Local Success
Karl R. LaPan, The NIIC

A 2016 Forbes article emphasizes it is not how much you spend on research and development (R&D) that makes you innovative, rather, how you spend to address the technical and market risks. 

The formula: invention + customer value + business model = innovation

Below we celebrate local successes that use Forbes’ formula.


In the early 19th century, Fort Wayne garnered industry attention for its ease of access to both the East Coast and western states. James A. Jenney, a well-known inventor of an electric arc lamp and a small dynamo, installed his apparatus in what would become the GE campus. In its prime, this Fort Wayne campus was a hub of innovation, specifically R&D.

Customer Value

Fort Wayne Metals highly invested in its applied R&D customer-centric program. These efforts resulted in many advanced materials becoming commercially available to improve the lives of people worldwide. 

Business Model

R&D is not reserved for business-to-business or industrial operations. These Fort Wayne connections are rounded out by the success story of how translation research and bench-to-bed R&D are transforming patient and employee experiences at Parkview’s Mirro Center for Research and Innovation. The center is committed to connecting medical discovery to patient care to quality of life. The goal is consumer access to the highest-quality, safest medical care possible. 

Returning to the Forbes article, “…having a great R&D process and achieving market success with the technologies you invent are two different things.”

It is a good reminder for all local business builders and corporate R&D departments to always remember to validate customer needs and applications when you address the potential risks in any day-to-day operation.  


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