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NSF Industry and Academe: Smart Service Systems Forum

NSF Industry and Academe: Smart Service Systems Forum


Good afternoon, I am Sara Nerlove, and on
behalf of the National Science Foundation, and as director of the Partnerships for Innovation:
Building Innovation Capacity program, I welcome you to this forum, which provides an opportunity
to participate in and to hear from discussion with academic and industry leaders. The purpose
of this forum is to gain insight into the Partnership for Innovation program’s brand
new topic focus and I will refer to the program as PFI:BIC. The brand new topic focus, which
is smart service systems. While BIC partnership projects may be based in various ways on knowledge
from any field of science and engineering, what we will emphasize here are thoughts and
insights into the nature, creation, and transformation of technology-based smart service systems.
The NSF Directorate for Engineering and the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships
believe that the PFI:BIC program has taken an exciting, potentially productive and desirable
direction, which reflects the importance of service systems in our society as well as
in our economy. Next month, we will hold a webinar, it will be an opportunity to focus
on the details of the solicitation itself. Today however, the forum will focus on the
nature of the topic of service systems. With that, I will ask our hosts to introduce themselves.
Hi I’m Steven Flemming at Georgia Tech. Thanks everyone for dialing into our call today.
This is going to be talking about smart services. I have been working in academic technology
transfer and commercialization one way or another for almost 20 years. I spent a good
chunk of my career as a venture capital investor. When I retired from the venture capital business,
I joined my alma matter at Georgia Tech focusing initially on technology commercialization
and have since expanded that to our entire entrepreneurship and industry support practice.
Most recently I’ve been primary investigator on the NSF Innovation Corps or I-Corps node
that is headquartered here at Georgia Tech and is so far serving 175 academic teams across
the country. So I look forward to moderating this and over to Susan. Thanks you Steven,
this is Susan Stuckey. I am presently with IBM in the services research group out in
California and have had the privilege of working with Jim Spohrer when he originally started
all of this. He’s now moved on as you’ll hear, to a different position. And what I’ve been
working on over much of my career is how to get ideas and new practices out of the academy
and into industry or into the public sector. It goes along with the technology when the
two are intimately related. So I Iook forward to today’s conference and welcome you all
to the panel presentation. Jim? Yea, hi this is Jim Spohrer. I’m the director of IBM’s
university programs worldwide and in that role I have the privilege of working with
about 500 IBMers worldwide who have about 1,000 universities and colleges worldwide,
including community colleges. One-third of those universities and colleges are in the
US. I am also one of the founding board members of the ISSIP society. ISSIP is pronounced
eye-sip, which is the International Society of Service Innovation Professionals. Previously,
I’ve lived in silicon valley for 25 years, I worked with Apple for 10 years on advanced
learning technologies and systems. I’ve moved over to IBM to help them start their venture
capital group and then helped start the service science research area of IBM. And it’s a pleasure
to be here today and I thank NSF for this opportunity. Next? I’ve just tried to select
a few images that I think capture this new age that we’re in, and this new age is really
one that is characterized by two things: one is platform technologies, and most of you
have a smartphone who are listening, so you know what a platform technology is, and other
is smart service systems. If you look at the pictures around the outside, I just tried
to select a few that give a sense of the different types of service systems that affect our lives
every day. So you’ll see some hospitals as service systems. You’ll see students using
smart phones to work on scientific inquiry. There’s a range of different types of service
systems. A lot of folks on this call are from universities; education and schools are service
systems. It’s been commented many times that in advance economies, 70-80% of the economic
output if you think about healthcare, education, government, but also transportation services,
communication services, which includes smart phones, financial services, so there’s a lot
of different aspects of service systems that impact us every day. In fact, to have a high
quality of life, there are over 13 different types of service systems that we have to interact
with every day. And usually we are most familiar with this when we disaster happens like Superstorm
Sandy and it breaks down the service systems that we all depend on every day. The key thing
about platform technologies and service systems is that we’re entering a new age, and if you
go to the next chart, I just tried to capture a little bit about what is special about the
interaction of these platform technologies and these smart service systems that we depend
on every day for high quality of life in our modern societies. And what we’re seeing is
that the amount of time that it takes for the benefits of new knowledge to reach people
is getting smaller and smaller as we develop these platform technologies that allow the
benefits of new knowledge innovation to spread more rapidly. And there’s another characteristic,
though, of these more complex service systems that we have today that depend on platform
technologies. The benefit is that the innovation can spread more rapidly. But we’re also seeing
this very interesting phenomenon of customer co-creation of value. The easiest way to think
about this is one I use with my kids, is one when we bought Ikea furniture. And rather
than buying finished furniture, where you go to the store and you buy it and you pick
it up, bring it home, and plop it down, Ikea has been able to us high-quality products
but the customers assembles it, so there’s co-creation. If you think of Facebook or other
types of social media, it’s the content from the customers that makes the platform technology
so valuable to their shareholders and employees. So what we’re seeing is this interesting phenomenon
of the customer is not just a consumer but the customer is co-creator. And as products
become more digital as there is an opportunity for people to customize and gather information,
we’re going to see more effects of the platform technologies and smart service systems. And
for those of you who like a more industrial example, many of you know for example that
Rolls Royce doesn’t sell jet engines; they sell power by the hour. So they’ve converted
their selling of a product to a service business where there is now co-creation with the customer
as an airline. And finally if you go to the last slide of the presentation, in the last
slide, the innovation framework slide, I really just present some of the fundamentals that
we’re seeing. And McKinsey did a very interesting study called Z2B looking at the zero to a
billion in revenue under a decade. So what types of companies? And they also have platform
technologies, a lot of them did anyway, that allowed them to go from zero revenue to a
billion revenue in under a decade. And we’re going to see more and more of this as startups
come out of universities that leverage platform technologies. The ability to scale up very
rapidly is quite exciting. At IBM, Cisco, HP, many other companies, Siemens, a lot of
other companies now are focusing on platform technologies to help cities become more sustainable
and energy efficient so there’s going to be in the future, we imagine, lots of university-based
startups, new technologies coming out of the universities that are going to make service
systems smarter and they’re going to go from zero to a billion much much more rapidly than
they could have in the past because these platform technologies allow, globally, these
service systems to become smarter more rapidly. I’ll go ahead and stop there. Jim, thanks
a whole lot and as you all know, we will be having two rounds of questions: one right
after the speaker, where we’ve selected a few questions to ask them, and then an “open
mike” opportunity as well. Jeanne, welcome and it’s your turn and please go ahead. Thank
you very much and thank you to everyone who has joined us this afternoon. I am a practicing
physician at Mayo Clinic and as the end user of smart systems, I can tell you there have
been many designed that aren’t very smart when it comes to the actual application for
the user in their practice. As a result of many of those frustrations, I have actually
left practice for a while and pursued an industrial engineering degree at Arizona State University,
which is why refer to myself as a physician engineer. Mayo Clinic is investing in this
through the creation of the health care system’s engineering program in our Center for the
Science of Healthcare Delivery, where we are bringing researchers from all areas of engineering
and cognitive sciences together to work directly with our practice to try to create safer,
more efficient and more patient-centered healthcare delivery. Go ahead to the next slide. Specifically,
our healthcare system’s engineering research is the integration of these disciplines that
you see here to try to create some more patient-centered care. From a smart service or smart technology
perspective, when you’re looking into industry at specifically a service industry, there
are many different customers, and in our case, the patients and providers and patient’s family
members. The system solutions have to be flexible enough to meet the needs of all of those stakeholders
simultaneously or one of them won’t use it, which means it won’t continue to connect the
people within the industry who need to be connected in order for things to work as smoothly
and as well as possible. We are bringing together our cognitive psychologists and industrial
engineering human factors people to help us as we design engineering scheduling systems
or safety systems for our providers. We’re trying to introduce some more sophisticated
mathematics so that our modes can come closer to some of the cognitive ways that we have
traditionally thought through things in healthcare. As well as the absolute importance of studying
the economics or the value equation for everything that we design and develop for our providers
and for our patients. Again, implementation can’t happen if there isn’t value for all
of the stakeholders. Translation from all of these disciplines into something that is
usable by our providers and patients in our industry has been absolutely crucial and I
actually joke with my colleagues that even though I have degrees in a couple of different
fields at this point, my key role in most meetings when we’re first meeting with our
stakeholders’ engineers is translator. I spend a lot of time translating physician and nurse
to engineer and translating engineer to physician and nurse. Otherwise, it’s interesting to
see what the user requirements look like. They usually don’t meet the user or nurse
or physician needs because it’s very difficult for our engineers and some of our other scientists
to practically understand what is taking place. So we decided from the very beginning that
every piece of work that we did needed to be relevant to our patients, providers, and
the marketplace and that we ourselves had to become world-class translators among many
disciplines as well as to our patients. We want to add meaningful value to practice with
education and research, so from an academic perspective, we are training engineers, and
we are actually training physicians and nurses to do this work as well. So we have to be
meaningful in order to grow the next generation of people who can carry this work forward.
It’s also crucial that we honor history’s lessons. We all have stories of a great product
that was designed, thrown over the wall, and no one ever picked it up. So we need to learn
from those lessons to be effective in an efficient and rapid way. We’ve committed to wanting
to make a difference today. Healthcare science is amazing with the technology for imaging,
genomics, and all of the great things that are happening. But one of the biggest shortfalls
is the lack of implementation science. All of the great technology that has been developed
it seems to be taking over 5 years for it to actually make it to the marketplace where
users are using it on a reliable basis. And our reliability in healthcare isn’t great.
We’re only using best science maybe 60-70% of the time on some of our most common diagnoses.
So unless we have the ability to integrate it into the healthcare system to make a difference
today and create potential for future science, we’re all sort of spinning our wheels. So
that we’ve decided that we are going to perform scientifically designed experiments that use
all of our stakeholders in the design of that experiment. We aim to integrate education
and research so that we can train the next generation to do this work, and it’s absolutely
crucial that we disseminate this new knowledge and our translation and implementation systems
design to people around the world in healthcare or in other service industries so that things
can be implemented to the best of their ability. Are you finished? I am finished. Okay. We’re
all learning how to do this blind, I guess. Thanks very much, and at this point, Steven,
let me hand over the moderation to you. Thanks very much. We have tried to have a mix of
folks on the presentation here, a couple form industry and a couple from the academy. And
so next we can hand it over to Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, the Dean of Engineering at North Carolina
State. Well thank you and good afternoon to everybody. I’m going to probably be a little
bit of a change of pace because I’m going to take everybody back to an era where many
people on the call might not have been around then. Where probably the closest to a platform
technology we had was a little Apple 2 Plus with that I had with 64K. Really the point
that I’d like to share with you on these two slides is the following: A key part of not
only this solicitation but the whole topic has to do with the importance and the challenges
and opportunities associated with partnerships between academe and industry. And it may sound
like a bit of a biblical reference here, but when I say at the beginning, early 1980s,
the reality is that from an academic perspective, there were really few incentives and actually
disincentives for academia to be involved with industry. And that was a reality. That
was a reality that I had to face as a young faculty member when I was at the University
of Florida, that first reference there about the Center for Applies Research in Electronics
Manufacturing– this was a couple of young guys, I and a colleague of mine, that decided
that we were still going to try get out there with industry because our areas were production
systems and manufacturing systems. And we received an opportunity through an internships
at the Harris Corporation to develop essentially a center that was built upon Harris Semiconductor
and Harris Corporation but expanded as 7 or 8 industry partners at a time in the state
of Florida when 1 out of every 6 employees was actually in electronics manufacturing
clearly before the mouse got as big as it is today. But the point was that this was
a risky thing for somebody in academia at that time. I remember my department head saying
well, Louis, I don’t know if you should do this or not. You know you can probably stay
here and write a couple more papers. And I said “no, this is the work that I do”. And
even then, the funding, it was mainly from industry–we didn’t have NSF funding at that
time– and there were also people splitting the hairs there that money might not be as
valuable as this money. It’s 40 graduate students just as well. In any case, you had to go counterculture
at that time. Now what happened at NSF in the mid-1980s was really significant. The
development of the Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers and the Engineering Research
Centers Programs were major steps forward. When Erich Bloch came to NSF in 1985, the
first NSF director who was from industry, that started a paradigm shift at the national
level and they say it legitimized the need and value of academe industry partnerships.
The ERC programs had some of that in it at the beginning, not nearly as much as they
have today. But the bottom line was the industry, in NSF, or at least Engineering, was something
that was thought to be important. I was recruited to NSF in the late 1980s to be part of a very
young division of design and manufacturing. This is was the era when we were really losing
a lot of ground in this country in manufacturing. Of course Japan had eaten our lunch in the
electronics manufacturing areas, and so the idea was how can we really (and NSF was not
below the radar screen…they really had to step up and do this) so the question was developing
programs that would enhance even more industry academe relationships. The Engineering Faculty
Internship Program said if you could get a dollar from industry, NSF puts up a dollar
for you to spend time in an industrial environment. Because it turned out that at that time, very
few individuals in academia that said they were involved in manufacturing had ever been
in manufacturing facilities. That program was not any easy sell. I remember the AD of
the division at that time was saying “Louis, I don’t know if we need to move that channel
that forward because some of the deans that I know say that if we do that, we’re going
to have our academic folks basically going to industry”. And the answer that I had to
give him was “If we don’t do it, they’re definitely going to go into industry”. Because there
are a lot of people out there in engineering where this is the domain in which the want
to work in. That eventually led to the GOALI program, which is explicitly recognizing the
work of industry. Other things like the Strategic Manufacturing Initiative, and then this division
became DMII, which Sally and some of the others will remember when the SBIR programs were
brought together with academia there. And the double I’s stand for industrial innovation,
which led to really the PFI programs and IIP. Again a major cultural change in these review
requirements also. When went to NSF in 1989, I can tell you that if you had an industrial
letter in you proposal, it was the kiss of death. People would say “why do we do that
at NSF; this is something that industry should do by themselves”. It took a decade or more
for that culture change to start happening to where now I know that in many programs,
if you do not have that kind of documentation, the question is “why should we support this
proposal; it may not be relevant”. So I think now the challenge has a lot to do with taking
this cultural change (we’re much further along in that in industry-academe partnerships)
and how to integrate that even better with the development of the design of smart systems,
which I think the issue of that with the platforms and everything has been articulated very very
well in the prior presentations. We see that here at NC State in the two Engineering Research
Centers that we lead at this moment. The FREEDM Systems Center, which was started in 2008,
is basically a focus on smart grids for renewables–distribution management of renewable energy. And a lot
of the work that’s involved in that first of all is a result of partnerships. There’s
over 50 companies that are involved in the center, and what’s really happening there
is trying to move the paradigm that we saw in IT (that move from very hard-framed central
things to very distributed and networks with customers and everybody influencing this)
to the energy area. Concepts for example, like routers, now really are transformers
in the energy systems, and that’s a lot of the platforms and technologies that are being
developed, so these things are coming together, of course, with all of this accessibility
of data and everything that we have. The second center that we have, which was a grant in
2012, is very similar. It’s a nanosystems center, but it has a health monitoring focus,
well over 20 industry partners, but the bottom line again is that it’s the use of smart systems
to really bring all of this data to bear in terms of development of devices that would
be self-powered and would really be tremendous enhancements in the health monitoring area.
So to really quickly summarize, even while we add this new element, the key characteristics…
you know first of all, there’s academe and industry, if this is going to work, have to
be together from the beginning in the design and development of any effort. That was really
tough to do at one time. I think that it’s a lot easier now. Each has to understand the
performance metrics that drive both domains. Academia has to understand better the short-term
metrics, but industry understanding that there have to be things there that are going to
be measured in the academic environment, and the academics involved have to have a successful
career. Realistic expectations of payback. Quite honestly, a big payback in these relationships…the
technology is important, the research is important, but it’s the human resource development. And
understanding that in the beginning that a whole new domain of students are coming through
with these capabilities. And that’s really the big payback for industry is to be acknowledged
at the beginning. And I think it’s a really clear issue here. And I would say the last
thing here is that both sides have to have skin in the game from day one all the way
through. When you are an industry partner on a 3 million dollar NSF grant, and you’re
paying 50,000 dollars as industry to be a partner, I think that’s very significant leverage.
On the other hand, the center also understands that what the industry folks bring in is perspective
that would not come in from academia, and that of course is a much better program with
some really terrific technologies and things that come out of it. So that’s all I have
right now. I look forward to the questions later. Thank you. Well, Louis thanks, that
was great. And the fourth of our panelists is Janis Terpenny, so Janis, over to you.
Okay thank you very much. First I’ll start by saying that I’m very honored to be part
of this virtual discussion, and I’m very much interested in the interaction that we have
that follows. I will start by telling you maybe a little bit humorously but some of
the instruction that the panelists were given was that we were supposed to have a riveting
insight built upon our prior experiences, so that’s kind of how my slides are going
to go here. I’m going to give you a little bit of background about my own evolution and
then what I’m working on currently and how that hopefully resonated with you and helps
you to understand smart service systems. So as you can see on this title slide, currently
I’m at Iowa State University. I’m the department chair for Industrial and Manufacturing Systems
Engineering. I’m also honored to be the director of an NSF center called the Center for e-Design.
That’s actually an NSF Industry University Cooperative Research Center or I/UCRC. Let’s
go to the next slide please. Okay, so my riveting insights. It’s interesting when people ask
you to spend a few moments reflecting, and what you’ll see here are some silly little
cartoon things across the bottom. But I started out in my own quest for learning knowledge
and being passionate about contributing to the world believe it or not in a major that
was applied math. And I kept wondering when and where I was going to apply that math.
Eventually I found myself, I entered a master’s program in Industrial Systems Engineering
and that’s when I started looking at the application. I always enjoyed teaching. I like helping
others find their path in doing good things but I found myself in the classroom not being
able to tell the story and put the message and the tools and the concepts to really making
a difference myself. Subsequently I ended up working for the General Electric Company
in Systems Engineering. And I really look at information technology frankly as an enabler
and not that I’m a computer scientist–that is not my interest– but it’s really taking
tools and methods and making systems so that they’re accessible, usable, and really causing
good things to happen. A couple of my reflections here, which I really do believe very strongly:
Industry and academe work experiences and partnerships for me have been integral to
my own personal quest for relevance and lasting contributions. While at once I took that turn
into industry and then I came back for my PhD, I really have valued the continued collaboration
and in fact I find myself, as Louis was talking about how in the past, industry experience
might have been like the curse of death, now I find that I’m often the translator between
the worlds, and really strongly believe that there’s a lot of value that we have together,
collectively. I also have a really firm belief that research, teaching, and service, in academia
we often look at them in separate buckets but I believe that we shouldn’t have a bucket
system and that we should be looking at all we do in a very integrated fashion. Back in
the early 2000s, 2003 to be specific, the Center for e-Design was formed. As an NSF
I/UCRC center, those centers are really a consortium model where the companies pay to
belong to the center. We get modest funding from the National Science Foundation, but
the idea is to have a center that has a theme around something that is very important to
the members. So we have regular meetings with our industry partners and we’re listening
very closely to what their challenges are. They really are opportunities for us to work
collaboratively to solve them. E-design in particular, E stands for electronic, and it
is very much true today that to design products and systems is really a community endeavor.
So I might be the manufacturer but I may have suppliers and others that provide components.
In fact, they might even design part of the overall system. I have customers who I want
to hear their voices better so that I know that the product is really what is was that
they want and that is has the greatest value. I might look at all kinds of other sorts of
issues. For instance, related to the platforms that I have in terms of how I design the product
and how it can have a longer life and greater value. Or provide as much variety to the customer
while looking at business processes that help us minimize their cost. So that’s really been
fun for me. The center has technically been around now for 10 years. It has 7 universities
and 20-some industry partners. I’ll talk a little bit more in a few minutes about I mean
about platforms. And my little silly character here, the little girl that is eating the cake.
It truly is how I feel, I’m delighted to say that I’m having my cake and eating it too.
That I’m helping to bridge research and practice, educate the next generation of students who
actually understand real problems and provide solutions in collaboration with partners.
Let’s go to the next slide please. I have a firm belief that things have really changed
from a research perspective, really it is that higher order thinking and innovation
truly requires a deeper understanding of the problem. When I was in industry working for
General Electric, I would often be developing a solution for a very specific problem, and
if I did that enough times, maybe I would start to see that this is a recurring kind
of thing and perhaps there is a better solution overall. Well it’s really swayed me toward
thinking that way all of the time. And I think that it is really core to how we should look
at the larger world’s problems anymore. And that is having a fundamental understanding
of what the larger problem is instead of just approaching things on a single basis. Across
the bottom it says my reflection about what has happened in the world related to information
technology that is a allowing us to implement things now in a much broader and with greater
impact. Literally when I first started working for General Electric systems (and that’s not
me by the way, I’m not a blonde and I’m thinking that picture is probably from the 50s or 60s,
I’m not sure) there were tape-driven systems. And that meant thinking about how you programmed
your application relative to the sequential ordering of how the data was stored. And believe
it or not it was a major revolution when we had disk drives and random access to that
information. It truly allowed for many things to happen. And leapfrogging over decades now,
the image on the right is really just supposed to be reflecting on how now the world is a
very connected place and there are many different forms where information and knowledge can
be stored. So while we have a great opportunity, we also have some new challenges to solve,
and that’s really the idea of the platforms is coming up with the backbone architecture
if you will that really does allow for the integration, the interoperability, so that
we can really harness and leverage this in terms of our fundamental approaches to how
we solve these and provide smart systems. So that’s my last slide. Great thank you.
Thanks everybody, in fact. This is a bit of a transition point. I wanted to make a comment
before we go which is that it looks like, from my experience having been this sort of
industry-academe nexus for many many years in various roles on both sides, I think we’ve
learned a lot and I hope we take those lessons forward. So now what we’re planning to do
is to go forward with a directed panel Q&A that Steven and I will moderate. And I’m just
going to kick off with a couple of questions for Jim and then for Jeanne. We don’t have
to go in any particular order. And I would encourage our other panelists to also jump
in. At this point, it would also be good to think about what questions that you might
like to ask them. And I would encourage you to use the chat channel, which should be visible
to you and to begin to think about questions you would like. I’m not sure we’re going to
be astute enough to be able to ask you questions in real time, but I’m going to ask Juan to
actually watch the chat and see if there’s something that should be thrown onto the table
as it were as we go along. So then after that, we will open up the chat for real and also
the phone lines and so you know, start thinking now and we’ll take some time to actually push
on some of the comments that our speakers made. So Jim, I’m thinking about all of the
really interesting lessons learned about academia and industry working together and I guess
I’d like you to take a little bit of time to think about what’s the difference in the
design of service systems and indeed service design if you can get there. But what’s different
about this particular transformation and this way of thinking. I think it’s not impossible
to think of service science thinking or service systems thinking as analogous to design thinking.
It’s a new way to approach the situation. So Jim, would you like to address what you
see as the new challenges, the differences from what we’ve been doing before in a more
manufacturing kind of a world. Sure, I think in a nutshell it’s customer co-creation, so
it’s really figuring out the value proposition and the win-win benefits to get the customer
engaged and get the customers working together as well. I think that really is the essential
ingredient because we’re not just talking about cyberphysical systems here, we’re talking
about service systems, and a service system has to balance the value proposition, the
win-win-win relationships between a lot of different stakeholders. And the provider and
the customer relationship is very important and very central in smart service systems
but there’s also, we’ve heard, supplier relationships, governing authorities, regulations come into
a lot of service systems. I mean, think about Facebook privacy laws and all of the issues
of shared data that are coming up as a result of this customer co-creation in who owns the
data and can use it for what purposes. So let me just interject a small question there
on the Facebook front: If Facebook had been thinking about what they were doing in a service
system way, might they have thought about all of those regulations earlier? Well I think
it’s part of the evolution because as their business model changed, businesses have to
adapt. There’s going to be changes in policy as things like this go forward, and we’re
seeing that Netflix and a lot of other places, there’s good ways to introduce change, and
there’s ways that can backfire, and I think that yes that that’s exactly the kind of thing
that thinking about service systems brings into a bigger, holistic view of value propositions,
which are central. So I would say from a service design perspective, there’s a lot of focus
on customer experience, but form a design of service systems perspective, there’s much
more of a focus on the holistic, regulatory all kinds of competitors. You know if you’re
doing service system design and you’re in business, you have to think about competitors
and being competitive, nations think about that as well. So I think the design of service
systems is typically a bigger thought than just service design, which tends to focus
on a very important thing, which is the customer experience as part of their value proposition.
Great, thanks. I think I’m going to move on to Jeanne. I think we’re all eager to hear
from the attendees and get their questions as well. Jeanne, I was very struck by your
talk because, of course, it’s easy to go back now over the last 15 or 20 years and see all
of the different parties there were in bringing new technologies and ways of working into
play. And it looks like the kind of engagements that you are setting up at the Mayo Clinic
with various partners, academic and others, I’m sure industrial partners, are especially
becoming, not being commonplace, but becoming more ordinary, and people are learning how
to do this. I’m wondering if you’ve thought or if you are all experiencing or if you are
doing anything about what happens on the back end, after this thing is developed and you
have gone to all of this trouble. What are the challenges of bringing that into play?
I don’t know if you’re a service systems thinker, but if you are, it would be interesting to
understand what it is to bring something through that whole process you described from the
design with industry from the beginning all the way through to when something comes out
and is actually put into practice. Is that something you could address? I certainly can.
I am in the process right now. I just finished writing a grant to AHRQ an affiliate of the
National Institutes of Health for implementing one of our service systems solutions for recognizing
and rescuing patients from deterioration in the hospital, which happens to be our number
one cause of preventable death right now. The biggest problem is the implementation.
We think that we’ve got a great solution. We think we’ve got things built into the workflow.
We’ve included all of the user requirements from every stakeholder. We’ve done great math
in combination with NC State and Arizona State and we think we’re there. But you know what?
It’s not going to matter in the marketplace if we can’t get our providers to use it. And
so we’ve been thinking very carefully about how to do that and borrowing things from cognitive
science and implementation science regarding studying the first implementation. So starting
small…thinking big and starting small and picking a particular group of hospitals of
different sizes, different patient demographics, different nurse and physician training and
services offered in each of these hospitals that we’re working in right now. And we’re
trying to implement in each of them and learn about the pitfalls of the uptake, so to speak,
and the diffusion and scalability of the thing that we have designed. So we’re actually using
sequential and iterative FMEAs or failure mode and effect analysis as we roll out from
place to place from hospital to hospital and to continuously redesign the modifiable components
so that they can flex to meet the different needs of different users in different spaces.
And that’s challenging because there are core components of a product that inherently can’t
be flexed, but there are things that we can let go of and that we can let users adapt.
And that space is very difficult for us both from a scientific design of an experiment
perspective, how you write that design of experiment and then from the developers of
the industry perspective, you can’t have a million different types of the same thing.
You have to have something that you can actually manufacture and scale, so there’s a lot of
rub in that area and a lot of difficulty and everyone has to be willing to stick through
it. The design is fun. The early science is a blast. Doing the math is great. Sticking
with it through the process of getting it implemented so that it’s usable by everyone?
That’s not as much fun, and it’s a lot harder. And so where we’re finding some difficulties
is actually getting our partners to stick with us all the way through the process. Moderator:
Yes, coming from the technical industry right now, I can tell you that I’ve been in the
trenches on that one for many many years, and that sounds like just the right thing.
So do you see, if you take a service systems view, which would mean including all of the
different parties who have a stake in that new technology, in that new way of approaching
things, is there anything that you can say aside from the fact that it’s just even more
complicated when you think about it that way, but could it also possibly reveal early insights
into the players you need to have involved in the beginning beyond just the industry.
Say, regulation, say, all of the others. What’s your experience there? Everything you just
said I agree with completely and as many know, healthcare is a highly regulated service industry
and so I didn’t mention that up front because that’s just a foregone conclusion. It’s a
non-starter if it doesn’t meet regulation, so we sort of start there. The other thing
that I would…I mentioned honoring history’s lessons….the other thing that healthcare
has struggled with in its research partnerships with industry is the conflict of interest.
One of the things that is very highly regulated in health care is the relationship between
the industries and the healthcare providers, the hospitals, the physicians, and the industry
developing those things. So we have a whole different set of regulations that we have
to work through and it’s not just a sniff test. There are piles of documents that have
to be created before I as a physician can work with industry outside of healthcare.
So keeping all of those things in mind in the design, starting there and making sure
those people are involved in the beginning I think is the only way to start. The other
thing that I would mention…it’s not only the companies but the right people from those
companies. I have sat at tables where people have told me “no, that’s not possible” and
moved just five feet to the right in a different line of people in an hors d’oeuvre table and
been told by a similar person in the exact same company that it is possible. So finding
the right partnerships and gelling the team of people who believe in the vision, setting
a really good, well-scoped vision, is another very important part. And being willing to
learn and say “you know what, we were wrong on this design concept’ it’s got to look like
this; we’ve got to go back to X, Y, and Z starting board because ultimately we want
the product or service line to succeed”. Moderator: I’m sure all of that is true and it’s also
true in many other service systems, perhaps in some ways but perhaps not so dramatic though
once you get into them, they’re all pretty fraught [laughter] with complexity. So thanks.
Alright, Steven, I think I’ll hand over to you to ask your questions of the other two
excellent presenters, and then we’ll come back to the larger attendees. Thanks, I think
I’m going to go directly off of Jeanne’s closing there. I’m going to aim this first at Janis,
but Louis, feel free to chime in. She mentioned finding the right partner and the right person
at the right time. There’s 100 Carnegie Tier 1 universities out there. All three of us
work at one of those. There’s another 200 universities that have some level of PhD science
and engineering-granting research, and there’s obviously 500 fortune 500 companies, and there’s
another 5,000 companies that we found are found are fertile ground here at Georgia Tech
for research. Gosh, how do you find the right ones? How do you find the right partner between
the academy and between industry and giving a nod to our host for this conference, how
can NSF help make that process better? I’ll start with Janis. Okay so of course that’s
a big question. I will tell you that, okay, so the question begins really by understanding
what the focus is of what it is that you want to accomplish. And so if, for those of you
on the call, if you were thinking about forming a team, the first question would be around
what problems, what service system focus, because as we heard, there are many different
types. There are 13 different categories, right? So the first is really to be aware,
cognizant of what that areas is that you want to focus on, and that should actually begin,
you know instead of it just being a random process among the thousands of possible collaborators,
help to narrow your scope. And another thing that I’ll building on is some comments Louis
made, and it really is important that the value is there for all of the participants,
all of the stakeholders. It seems like we’ve been using that word quite a bit. So even
when you identify who you might contact to see if they would be interested in collaborating,
you need to be able to articulate not just what it is that you’re trying to accomplish
from your perspective but how and why it is that you think this collaboration might be
of value to them. You know, people have very limited time, and they’re going to make a
choice of are they going to allocate some of it to the collaboration that you’re talking
about or they’re busy people and they might use their time otherwise. So it’s really coming
up with where’s the win-win? It’s interesting; maybe it’s because I am no longer a shy person.
Strangely, I know people who know me well who would find it hard to believe that I ever
was, but I’m a very can-do kind of person when I’m very passionate about something.
There’s going to be a solution. What I have found when I’m in a new place, in particular,
because I have changed universities, is that I, from a university side here, I often find
that advisory boards within departments or within the college are often populated with
people who are really strong or have a really good relationship with departments, the college,
the university, they care a lot, often they’re people that have been very successful in their
careers (I’m talking about industry members of these advisory boards). And they may, in
fact, be alumni. So often those are very good sources to start with, even if they’re not
the right person, because they will be very dedicated to trying to find the right person
in their organization. I’d also not just do this randomly as a shot in the dark and I
would think about the industry members who again, depending on the problem that you’re
going after, make the greatest sense. From your perspective and also how it is that you’re
going to give them a description of how it is that it would benefit them. I also know
that most universities have some form of an economic development office or an extension
office where there are actually companies and individuals that come to them on a regular
basis asking for help with certain types of problems. To me, those are great sources that
you could go and meet with and also explore what it is that you’re trying to do. I have
been known to…if I know of a company, I’ll be very proactive even if there’s not even
if there’s no contact here on campus if I know that it’s within a reasonable driving
distance. I’ll do my best to find a way to make a contact. I find that email is usually
the worst way to try to make something happen when you don’t really already have personal
relationships. So picking up a phone and navigating that space and setting up a time when you
can actually go and meet with and discuss opportunities expanding the collaboration
even to include some things that the other person might be interested in beyond what
yours are. So, for example, industries are often interested in our students. They want
to hire them. So how can I provide additional opportunities that might complement the collaboration
that might have something to do with …that they’ll have an opportunity to talk with students
either through the student groups or through guest lectures in a classroom. The last part
of the question, I know, was how could NSF help to facilitate. Well, that’s a loaded
kind of question because I also was a Program Director as NSF, and so I don’t want to say
the wrong thing and have our NSF program directors who are really helping us to think in new
and different ways. I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Being a design-oriented kind
of person, I think this is just basic brainstorming and problem solving. NSF has so many ways
in which they have facilitated communities of getting started, either sometimes by funding
workshops that can happen in the present you know like this is a wonderful start, but as
a virtual forum, the real relationships have a much better chance of forming when there
are opportunities for like a day or two workshop where people could come together. Other ways,
and again, NSF often doesn’t … they enable, they don’t necessarily carry out things. They
fund individuals and groups to do things. And so another way would even be a small exploratory
kind of thing that creates some sort of a virtual forum. And of course associated with
what we’re doing here today, there is already a LinkedIn group, so that’s another opportunity
I suppose. Anyway, I’ll quit [laughter]. That’s good, that’s good I just wish you’d thrown
in there that NSF should make FastLane a little easier to use [laughter]. Louis: I think that
everything that Janis shared I would say is right on the money. All I would want to add
is that we had a group over the last two days here from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee
that was visiting really mainly with the engineering research centers that we have and a lot of
it was their curiosity about the industry partners and how all of that had developed
and so on and they asked Alex Wang, who is the director of our FREEDM center, they said
well the center started in 2008 and they said what happened before 2008 that really helped
make this successful? And Alex kind of looked at them and smile and he said well about 25
years of hard work to interact and develop relationships with people that trust me and
I trust them and they then become the inroads into a lot of these organizations. So you
know this partnership is the word, but it’s relationships that I think as Jeanne mentioned,
you could be at a meeting and talk to one person that’s going to tell you one thing
and talk to another that tells you something else. So I would say that one almost has to
start first of all with what are those relationships, industry, whatever, that already exist between
individuals that are wanting to develop these kinds of things and start there and sort of
build form that point out because you know, this is is a body contact sport in that sense.
And the other message that Alex was sharing was that there’s no such thing as an overnight
success. I mean the fact that he and his team, which included Arizona State and the other
universities that are there, might have been positioned to be successful, was the result
of efforts that were made over 10, 15, 20 years and steps that led to that and relationships
that had been nurtures and worked on very strongly. So maybe the message I’m trying
to share is that there’s no snap your finger solution here but if you have to start from
scratch, I think a lot of what Janice is sharing is actually exactly the right way to go and
of course if you have alumni networks and others that can help facilitate these interactions,
even better. Moderator: Very good, okay. I’ve actually got some follow-up questions that
we’re….we’re a little after 2:00 our audience has been very patient. I see some questions
on the open screen, Juan I hope we’re getting even more questions on the closed moderator
screen. Why don for now we toss it back to Juan and see what the audience questions are
like? Can you hear me, this is Alex? We can hear you. Okay, so Juan just stepped out for
a minute, but I can read you one of the questions from the audience. is there a problem with
different time horizons between industry and academia? How do you overcome the differences?
Moderator: Janis, would you like to start with that one? Sure, I can start with that
one. So again, the center for eDesign is an NSF I/UCRC center, and we have actually learned
much and we continue to and the mismatch of timelines is one of those. I personally believe
that it’s important that people that are at universities learn how to break down something
larger into smaller pieces and show progress and accomplishment along the way. Because
industry, if you say wait 2 years or more before you see something, that’s a huge mistake.
And even if you have periodic phone calls or meetings, they want some type of tangible
output that looks like you really are going to deliver because, again, in all relationships,
all collaborations, there has to be a value. So breaking it down into smaller chunks is
really important. I do think that a lot of times, people in industry are just as interested
in the students, which are one of our major products, as they are in the tools and methods
that will come out of the work that is done. So another way to keep that interest and show
value is to really be active in terms of internships for undergraduates and even graduate students,
having the immersive kind of experiences for students and faculty and even offer the other
way around for industry to be present again so breaking something down and also being
very involved. Moderator: Anyone else want to jump in on that one? This is Louis, just
very quickly, when we had this center back in Florida years ago, that was a key issue
because the electronics manufacturers were looking at red line reporting almost every
month and yet we had the longer-term issues, too. And one way that we kind of work with
that is we just kind of had a broad portfolio of students, as you might imagine, our PhD
students were working on longer-term issues, and a lot of that was the NSF support, but
we had our master’s and our undergrad students work on really what were development projects
that has essentially short-term and relatively quick returns in the prototyping and other
things, and so the key thing is that we had to provide some value added and some returns
early on and quickly to the industry partner, and once that relationship was established
and they knew they were going to get return on their investment, they became a lot more
amenable to things that might take a longer time. Ultimately, as Janis mentioned, they
started hiring some of these young people, too, and of course from that point on, things
really started rolling. The irony is that if you have a good relationship with industry
partners, there’s a lot of turnover in industry. And if you’re involved with them for 2 or
3 years, sometimes your group may become the corporate memory in a particular area. Now
that’s a very nice position to be in. I’m not saying that’s good for industry, but from
that point on, you’re kind of on the other side of the curve. And I think that means
you’ve dealt well with both of these issues, the academic time horizon and the industry
one. Janis: I have one more thought to share, you know it’s unfortunate, I find, that in
academia, there is this notion sometimes where we have all of the answers and we are very
knowledgeable, and here industry are some things that you might be interested in and
benefit from. Really the best situation is when there really is a free-for-all, and it’s
2-way because industry is way out and far advanced in many topics that just as much
as universities are, and just like any good problem-solving endeavor or design process,
much of it is being very engaged and that understand the problem and have quite the
banter and the involvement you know rather than industry waiting to have deliveries,
it’s really better that there really is a team and a collaboration all the way from
the beginning to the end. Moderator: This is Susan, and I have a question for Jim on
this…on this frontier. I guess you’ve been in this position for several years now in
university relations and you’ve got a great deal of industry experience as well. What
are you seeing by the way of changes or changes that should or could happen in the industry
context to help prepare people for this kind of a world? We’ve heard a number of things
saying the sooner they can start working together, the better, that giving students hands-on
experience in the industry context is a good thing, and I think in my own experience I’ve
said often that we have this dual problem. As researchers, we could be industry or academic
researchers that on the one hand we come with a lot of luster and glamour for the research,
but incredible naiveté around what it actually is to collaborate and not just with industry
but now in the consciousness about these larger service systems. So Jim, do you have anything
to say about what you see coming down the pike? You’ve got your fingers on…you’ve
got your ears to the ground on 5,000 universities. What are you hearing? I certainly view the
5,000 universities as holistic service systems that are embedded in their cities and regions,
and so it’s kind of a nested network structure of all of these universities and cities around
the world. It’s the focus of the current research efforts that I have going. And the transformation
that’s happening in higher education is one where the various missions of higher education
are in some cases disrupted, in other cases doing a normal evolutionary change, but the
big exciting thing, I think if you want to put it down to something very concrete is
for example the national academy of engineering has their grand challenge list and you’re
seeing more student competitions, ex-prize kind of stuff, so that transformation where
it’s not just teaching to learn facts that may be used or may not be used but learning
how to apply them either for entrepreneurial purposes or in these mentorships with industry
or internships or eventual employment I think is a very very interesting trend, so as teaching
is transformed in higher education, and the courses get update more frequently with new
research knowledge as well as new challenges, right, because the challenges change year
over year. I think this is a very positive direction. In fact, I was talking with Mitch
Daniels, the president of Purdue recently, and he was talking about the three missions
of learning, discovery, and engagement, and how they are being integrated, and I think
we saw that in some of the presentations today that research teaching and application (someone
mentioned application science, which I thought was a great step), those 3 things…rather
than viewing them as separate, the systems are getting more tightly interconnected, and
that’s the big trend that I think I’m seeing, Susan. Moderator: I’ll kick it back to Alex
and/or Juan or Sarah. Alex: So we have too very related questions. One is “please discuss
the role of either cognitive or behavioral science in the development of platform technologies
for service systems, how industry sees this partnership with the social sciences”, and
a follow-up question to that one would be “what is the role of the school in service
system innovation research?” Moderator (Stephen): I’m going to step in very quickly because
I work with a lot of business schools and marketing departments that are just really
excited about big data and analytics and they’re very keen on the behavioral sciences and cognitive
science for understanding the customer. A lot of the service design stuff has a cognitive
aspect of looking at the user design and user interface design, so there’s a huge number
of areas where the cognitive comes in: everything from marketing to computer science interface
design to other factors, organizational factors so I see this as a really great opportunity
for engineering, schools of management, and the social and behavioral science to work
together to improve these systems. This is Janis, and I’ll reflect a little bit on some
of my experience when I was working in industry and also what I know very clearly now. And
this will actually build on some of what Jeanne said earlier. Whenever particularly something
that is going to be implemented when it is some sort of enabling technology it is so
important in any new system whether there is a computer involved or not, if it really
changes how people think and do things, it seriously requires training, hand-holding,
buy-in. We do this as technology developers as best we can, but the role and the deeper
understanding that those in the social sciences and business have in terms of organizational
structures and how we should best do this I believe are really important. There’s not
one application that I’ve ever implemented where that hand-holding portion wasn’t critical.
Anywhere from people out on a factory floor to those who were in very high-level positions.
Moderator: Jeanne, not to put you on the spot, but how does that effect the medical world?
Physicians have been known to be rather change-resistant [laughter] specifically let’s think about
the introduction of electronic medical records in healthcare, something that should be fairly
rapidly absorbed. One of my colleagues who is actually in the healthcare IT world described
the current electronic medical record systems that we have as the equivalent of putting
a scalpel on the ceiling and moving the patient around the scalpel. [laughter] Rather than
putting the scalpel in the experts hand allowing them to use it the way they were trained.
So to me it (I’m very visual) it’s a very interesting visual. The handholding part needs
to happen not only by the industry expert and the research but a local champion who
has tremendous respect from the people around them who has to be standing there and have
to demonstrate it and use it and through physical observations, people need to see that this
person’s workflow got better, this person’s care was better, their job got easier, they
went home sooner. Whatever it happens to be that is going to be a win for the user. They
have to see someone they respect use it and get those outcomes or the laggarts in the
change scale aren’t going to come along. Janis: So here’s a funny one, even engineers, even
designers who come up with new things for others, you know, if you consider how complex
their world is, to introduce something new usually goes over very difficult. Change is
hard, and again I think it’s appreciating what it is that they already have to work
with. So to me, that actually speaks to the importance of the design of the smart service
system in that it’s really imperative that they are intuitive, easy to use, have involved
many of the users and the stakeholders in their design to get that kind of feedback
so that you can even evaluate that. Jeanne: Another thing that I think I’ll throw in because
I think it’s important especially from the service systems perspective, especially since
there are so many different stakeholders and so many different people who use different
portions of the smart system. If something is designed to bring together and allow an
entire service to work, that means that different stakeholders are using different components
of it, in my mind. So studying that for the academics to actually make that an experiment…how
that is best done so that the uptake and the diffusion happens rapidly to keep our industry
partners interested, I think is a wealth of opportunity for learning. Jim: And to add
to that, a lot of times I think a smart service system transformation is when staff were going
from the old to the new but really we have to think about it as a continuous improvement
process a continuous transformation process, where there is going to be continuous innovations,
and that requires a culture change…a very broad culture change where there’s a little…
you know things that are a little bit of change every year are a lot better than things that
stay static for 5 years, 10 years, and then all of a sudden make a big jerk from a….I
think that’s the sort of thing that we’d like to see some of the social behavioral models
to inform. And also, from the business and management school perspective, I think for
a lot of these value propositions, there are a lot of different business models that are
out there that the business schools know about and they study the win-win nature of ones
and ones that took off and did really well in one situation and in another situation
fell flat and I think that understanding that really does require not only the cognitive
behavioral social, but people who have a good understanding of the history of business model
evolution. Jeanne: One of the other things that I’d like to interject that I don’t think
we’ve recently experienced. That when you look at things from an operations research
perspective, we designed a surgical scheduling model and application that our surgeons could
use in an exam room with patients. To select the most appropriate day that would meet the
hospital’s needs, the surgeon’s needs, and the patient’s needs simultaneously. We got
cases done in fewer ORs because of a huge gain in the NOI. All of a sudden, it stopped
working. And then the surgeons completely turned off; they wouldn’t use it anymore.
When we went back and looked, there was a brand-new technology that was implemented
in the operating room that changed the duration of the surgical cases by more than an hour.
Some longer, some shorter. So the model we were using no longer worked. So there are
interactions between smart technologies in different aspects of the same space that have
downstream impacts that we hadn’t anticipated. And so how do we keep all of that in mind
both from a research perspective and an implementation perspective I think is going to be very challenging
because I don’t know anything about the imaging technology world but it certainly influenced
our operations. Moderator: These are all really great. I’m wondering if we should switch topics
and ask our hosts to put forward another question from the attendees. Alex: This is, I have
not received many more, so this is probably our last one before we open the floor, and
the questions is “are there cases in which the discovery comes from the industry partner
and the academic researchers provide the human factors and marketing research? If you know
about those cases, how does that work, for both the industrial partner and the academic
partner? Jim: I’ll just jump in. In the UK there’s a great national Royal Academy of
Science report called Hidden Wealth: the Value of Science and Technology in the service sector
innovation. That Hidden Wealth report from the Royal Academy of Science actually has
a set of tables and data that was collected from university-
industry interactions in the UK that addresses that question. It had examples of where industry
had a new innovation but didn’t have either the human factors quite worked out or the
business model quite worked out and so the technology was coming from industry not the
university, in these cases. But the expertise on human factors and business model was coming
from industry, so I think there’s…all of the possible permutations are represented
somewhere in some examples but the Royal Academy of Science Hidden Wealth Report has some very
nice examples of that. Janis: Actually, I think that there’s some commercially available
tools that came from industry that provide some backbone or architecture, but that doesn’t
mean they actually provide the smart service system. And often I find that technology providers
are very interested in collaborating because they want to foster the demonstration of the
usefulness of their product, too. So sometimes, those collaborations between industry and
universities could even help them to showcase to other potential customers of theirs. Again,
what’s in it for them? Why were they interested in providing those tools for free or at a
reduced cost to universities? What is really multi-pronged? Alex: Okay, so Brian, can we
open the floor, please? Yes, if you would like to ask a question on the phone lines,
press star 1. Once again, that’s star 1 to ask a question. Moderator: In the absence,
maybe Sara or Alex, you can read another question while people are formulating what to ask real-time.
Alex: Okay, I just have one final, and I think that Jim already touched on his comment on
this, but the question is can you comment on the interest from industry to mentor students
in the regular course project and service operations or service science? Moderator:
Louis, would you like to start with that one about how students can get involved as part
of their classes? Sure, well there’s certainly many mechanisms. In every engineering program,
of course, we’ve got the capstone design projects and I would say that practically every department
that we have, many of those projects are with a significant amount of industry involvement.
Actually, I’d say that in many cases it’s with industry sponsorship, and what we’ve
seen is an evolution, too, where now a lot of those projects are across departments and
across colleges, so in particular, there’s a program here at NC State, which is a master’s
degree in analytics really driven by SASS and helped to sponsor…originally, and then
that program together with computer science, together with our college of design, so we
have capstone projects, senior projects where all of the… students from all three colleges
are involved, and I can’t tell you how many organizations are now providing the basis
for those projects or are involved with them or literally have their folks in their industrial
environments as partners in this. So I think it’s certainly a wonderful way for our students
also to get tremendous relevance on this, but a key part is that the students that come
out of this interaction and these programs…they come out different than if they were just
doing something in one discipline in some way. The other part is simply the internships
and the co-ops. We certainly encourage all of these organizations that come i here to
recruit our students, and things are really back up to where they were a few years ago.
We have 300 companies coming in next week for our career fair. The internships are being
offered start with the first year and second year, not just junior and senior years, and
obviously what’s part of this, too, is that these young people are coming in, we all know,
much more savvy in these platform technologies than certainly I or anyone else could pretend
to be. In fact, when we look at how we build spaces and things even in our libraries and
things like that for them to work, there has to be space for them to spread out all of
these things that they bring in and work with, so you know it’s kind of a back and forth
process as Janis mentioned. You know, there’s movement in both directions with industry
providing a lot of the relevance and context for the problems and the students in a way
are really motivated players in trying to do these things. The kids we have now quite
honestly, you know, they are, I don’t want to overuse the word, but they are very service-oriented,
not simply service systems, but they do have a very strong focus on wanting to make an
impact and I think the development of these technologies and the understanding of the
role that service systems play in everything is becoming a bigger and bigger part of what
they’re involved in. Janis: So I’ll just second what Louis said and I’ll tell you, so I’ve
been tainted by my time in industry, and I can’t possibly teach a class without having
an industry collaborator. It doesn’t matter what level the class is at. In fact, some
of the most fulfilling, you know students these days, it’s interesting, they truly do
want…they go into engineering in particular because they wanted to be able to DO something.
And they wanted to make a difference. And they’ll work much harder for someone else
than they will for themselves or they will for the instructor. They find great gratification.
And in fact, some of the service learning projects are even more motivating than ones
that just say “I want to increase the profitability of XYZ”. They want to be able to see how it
was that they really had a bigger impact. I think it’s fun. I find that honestly I think
that at the university, it’s helping professors to feel, who haven’t been in industry, to
feel in not having to have all of the answers is important. And maybe even having industry
providing opportunities where they really are very involved in the process and even
the faculty…anyway, I won’t ramble, but… Jim: I’ll pick up on where you left off because
I think that the real world challenges, the real world data, the real world tools, the
real world mentors as a component of more and more courses is a really healthy direction.
In fact, I think if we could increase the number of industry mentorships by an order
of magnitude or a factor of 10, we could probably double the number of internships because the
mentorships take a lot of the risk out of it from the industry side. So the mentorship,
especially the short-term mentorship with teams of students, you get to look through
all of the students and see which ones are really motivated and attracted to the kinds
of problem that you are putting or the challenge that you’re giving them. And often, when you
hire and intern and you know I hope that they have the capabilities; I hope that they’re
going to be able to make progress on this, it’s a riskier proposition, but an order of
magnitude increase in mentorships I think would double the number of internships and
also, like you said, you don’t think about teaching a course without an industry partner.
I think that that model of yes there’s a part that historical knowledge in the domain in
the course area taught and the students have to learn, but there’s also this cutting-edge
area where “where is this knowledge being applied in the industry today? What are the
open research questions?” And to have every course not just focus on the teaching and
learning but incorporate a little bit of the research and a little bit of the real world
challenges I think is a very very healthy direction. And anything that ….certainly
IBM is very interested in encouraging that. We’re very focused on real-world challenges,
real world tools, real world data, real world mentor wherever we can find the win-win opportunities
to do that. This is Steven. Let me me follow up on that really to all of the panelists
on both sides of the academy-industry divide. When we’re doing projects that involve graduate
students, we in the academy have kind of figured out the intellectual property issues and we
kind of know how to do that. What about then its undergraduates? What about when it’s capstone
students but they’re working in an industry lab or in a class that’s being directed or
mentored by an industry figure and they’re using a real world problem coming from a factory
or a hospital? What happens to intellectual property then? What have you all settled on
at your schools? This is Jeanne. We’ve included the students whether they’re undergraduates
or graduate school level. If they’ve gone in the field, observed a problem, helped to
develop the design, done some of the analytics, and participated in solutions and implementation
and we’ve teed up various focus projects that our interns can do during the summer. We’ve
included them in the IP component. A small component, but still a component, and hopefully
continuing to build in industry-academic partnerships and supporting those students in their own
careers. This is Janis, and I’ll say that I’ve seen it done differently at different
universities, so any collaboration. That’s something that needs to be discussed up front
because changing those rules is really difficult. So it’s important to know. I have seen it
anywhere from that the company signed something to being with that acknowledges that this
is for educational purposes and the IP belongs to the student all the way to the other side,
where the student signs something and says that it doesn’t belong to them. So again I
think it’s important in each case to know what the policy is. It’s different for graduate
students because they get paid to carry something out so that inherently means that the university
does have some ownership but undergraduates don’t. So again, it’s just important to know
what you’re dealing with and then put in place, look, benchmark what others have done if there
isn’t something in place and try to come up with something that will be workable all the
way. Moderator: I’ll take moderator privileges on second to say that Georgia Tech has wrestled
with this once for a while, and we had an interesting proof case that has led us into
the direction that unless there’s a very tangible, very direct directive from industry to do
something, we make a policy of waiving the rights to the intellectual property back to
the student or the student team. The reason for that is that quite a number of years ago,
we had that situation with a company who started a company in his dorm room. We had the opportunity
to assert ownership over it because he was using our computers and our facilities. We
did waive that and made a friend out of him and after he sold his company for 1.3 billion
dollars, he gave us a very nice building, which we like a lot. So we’re making more
of a policy of trying to make friends out of the students than trying to assert ownership.
I was going to say, this is Louis, that’s the same policy that we have here at NC State.
We just haven’t gotten the building yet [laughter]. Jim: If you talk to Catherine, who at Stanford,
she can rattle off a lot of stories like that and point to buildings on the Stanford campus
where we made a friend and got a building you know years later. But we, at IBM, we make
a very important distinction. There are kind of two paths. There are mentorships, internships,
employment– that’s one path. And there’s mentorship to entrepreneurship- that’s another
path. Mentorships, it’s very clear that the challenge that’s given and all of the work
should be open. A good mentorship, the student is not an employee, they are not being paid,
they are getting a social network contacts, they’re getting a mentor, they’re getting
a chance to develop as a professional and they’re getting a grade. Internship is really
just short-term employment. The intern is being paid, they have to sign the standard
IBM intellectual property thing, which basically say we’re paying you and we own what you do.
And then employment of course is we’re paying you, we own what you do. But mentorship is
that way that, you know not being paid, you own what you’re doing, we’re providing the
challenge and guidance, you’re going to get a grade, you’re going to get a social network,
and I think that’s the part that takes a lot of risk out of the internship and employment
for industry because you get to see how somebody performs and you also, hopefully you’re learning
something, the industry mentor is learning something because whatever the student does,
they’re going to publish to slideshare or YouTube or some social media outlet so that
it’s public and it adds to their portfolio. But I think there’ really that clear distinction;
I think Steven from Georgia tech, you were making this point– there has to be a clear
distinction,and everybody going into it up front has to understand “is this the student’s
intellectual property or is this the industry intellectual property” and that’s where we
make the distinction between mentorships and internships and employment. Moderator: Is
Juan back or Sara or Alex? Alex: We are all here and I think we don’t have any more questions.
Unless Brian has any questions? Brian: Yes, I did get two questions…you line is open.
Caller 1: Hello thank you I’m at Georgia Tech home to Stephen Flemming, also the University
of California. I had a very fundamental question that I wanted to make sure I don’t misunderstand
just a comment…the healthcare domain was emphasized quite a bit and it’s a perfectly
good example. There are others for smart service systems. Going back to healthcare just a little
bit, the issue is that there are many kinds of technology platforms in the world. There
are healthcare sensors for sure. There are wireless communication systems that connect
up these sensors with information from the outside world. There are hopefully innovative
database systems to make all of the information dutifully aggregated and actionable and so
on. Should I understand that especially in the context of smart services you’re talking
about a technology platform as the complete ecosystem, from the physical sensors all the
way to the information engines? I just want to make sure that I don’t misunderstand the
definition of technology platform. This is Jim, I’ll just be quick and go first. A platform
technology has an owner. Like Facebook has their platform and Google owns several platforms
and Twitter owns their platform and IBM owns our smarter cities and intelligent operations
platforms. And so technology platforms have an owner. Apple owns their iPhone platform.
So when you think of a technology platform, one of the first questions that you have to
ask is who owns it because they are setting the rules. And if the capabilities of the
platform are good, if the rules are right for the customers to co-create value with
the platform, then it’s probably going to be a successful platform. So the platform
technologies have an owner. The service system is…the smart service system leverages the
platform. So all of the customers that use the platform are part of that service ecosystem
if you prefer ecosystem to system or service network if you prefer that. And there ear
many other stakeholders. There are the regulators who are regulating the smart service system,
as we heard in healthcare for example, so that service system, the smart service system,
has many may stakeholders. Nd the value proposition has to work out for all of the stakeholders
or else it’s not going to be a success. But technology platforms typically has one owner.
When Google gets their driverless cars going, they may do that in partnership with others,
but they will be the ones responsible if one of those driverless cars gets in an accident.
You know, the owner of a technology platform is the one that has the rights to make the
profit, but they also have a responsibility to make sure it’s consistent with regulation
and all of the other stakeholder requirements. Caller: That’s extremely helpful, but I see
it’s not meant to say that your research project program, especially in the academic world,
what you said perhaps does not necessitate that you start out with one of these well-understood,
well-owned platforms as the starting point of the research program. This is Juan Figueroa
from NSF and I think that your last question is a very good point. Both of you made a good
point. What we’re looking for is some technologies that are going to be platforms. For example,
when you look at the example that Jeanne brought up with Google, it’s a platform in the sense
that many services spring out of the basic concept, around the basic technology that
Google has. And what we’re looking at here is that technology, that could be a platform
that could spring many services. Who is the owner of that technology? Yes, somebody may
have it, but that’s what we’re going to develop. There’s going to be a partnership between
the university and the industry to finesse this technology, to make it into a platform,
whether it could go to the healthcare service now whether it could go there or to another
type of service, but many services could come out of this technology platform. Does that
make sense now? Caller: Yes, very helpful, thanks very much. Sally: Yes, I think you
need to think about this as platform technologies rather than the other way around in this context
because they too are also more mature than what we called for or what we’ve been calling
for because they have to be ready to be integrated into service systems, but they are still….also
at least to a non-trivial extent, they work in progress. Juan: And the example of Google
was that when it started, it was a one-dimensional kind of solution to a problem, and now it
just blossomed into many many services. It provided the basis for many services and not
to the same scale but hopefully to the same scale, we were looking for something like
that. Louis: Juan, if I may just interject here, I think that the internet is a great
example of that, right? The internet was a platform technology, but nobody had any idea
of all of the products and services that were going to come out as a result of that. Sally:
And Louis, as you and I talked about at one point, it make be like a jigsaw puzzle. In
fact, there may be many devices that get pieced together to be able to drive or enable these
service systems. Juan: Good question. Alex: Yes, good question. Brian, and other questions?
Brian: Yes, the line is open. Caller: Thank you, I’m calling from California. This question
about the technology platform I want to go back to what Jim said for example on mentorships.
I have two parts to this question. There may be a difference between the technology platform
on a problem that is not human-driven, let’s say some technology for safe drinking water
that doesn’t deal with the sociology of the people being served relative to a human systems-
oriented…let’s say social entrepreneurship in communities where the need for collaboration…you
may need to develop a system of collaboration for communities to deal with their own problems.
Those are two different kinds of focuses. One is on a technology platform that is non-human-systems
driven, and the other one is human systems-driven, in which the focus on collaborative skillsets
or collaborative tools or the ability for community organizing becomes more integrated
in the system. It looks like you’re looking more for the former than for the latter in
terms of a technology platform that is almost kind of turnkey? So maybe you can clarify
that. And the second part is do you want to problem-solve technically so that you’re addressing
an issue like safe water or looking at a system where the process is…improvement in the
process, like doubling the mentorships in universities in business schools so that more
students are engaged in industry and that be the focus across many problems rather than
focusing on one particular problem like safe drinking water if that makes sense. Juan:
When we step back, because we’re the National Science Foundation and we have supported scientific
research for a long time, our basis in terms of what contains all of these services are
still going to need to be base on some kind of technology. Because what we’re looking
for is what some of the seeds that we have already planted in research that we can take
it a little bit further to help society. So in the short term, we’re going to be more
favorably looking at technologies that can provide services in human services, social
services… it must have its root on a technology that has been researched over the last couple
of years. Sally: In other words, the technology basis. Alex: Even if in your case, the technology
does not interact, apparently with humans immediately, you have to have a systems perspective.
Because you may, indeed, changing the system by introducing the technology. So we want
that approach….a systems approach. It’s not the technology by itself. Juan: Exactly,
yes. And so our minds are perfectly clear now. Alex: Okay, so Brian, anything else?
Brian: No further questions on the phone. Sally: Okay, I think with that, the forum
is adjourned. I thank you so much moderators, presenters, and attendees in being part of
this inaugural event for NSF. Additional questions can be sent to me by email at [email protected],
and the presentation will be available following the forum at the website on this slide (www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/pfi/bic.jsp).
There is also going to be a PFI:BIC webinar on October 23rd at 1pm. Alex: And there, we
will be able to answer all of your questions about the solicitation, which at this time
we didn’t want to do that. Sally: Right, so I thank you very much. Alex:And thank you
to all of the presenters and the hosts. Thank you, bye now. [various goodbyes]. Everybody
have a great day.

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