A physical chemist by training, Ouderkirk focuses on evaluating innovative practices that can lead to breakthroughs in new discoveries. Analysis holds that incremental discoveries are predictable within a lead market, while breakthrough innovations impact adjacent markets. Thus, inventions like Multilayer Optical Film first found application in electronics displays. Today, those films are also used in smart cards, solar panels, window films, LED light bulbs and with current research holding promise in opto-electronics.Ouderkirk’s studies indicate innovators bring different skills to the invention process. Specialists bring depth of knowledge in a discipline. Specialist-generalists explore both depth in their research with world-class expertise, plus knowledge across disciplines and patent familiarity. Both are critical to the innovation process. Ouderkirk, himself, holds 170 patents.
3M's Dr. Andy Ouderkirk, Inventor Of 3M Multilayer Optical Film, Named 2013 R&D Magazine Innovator Of The Year. (Photo: 3M)
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