Curt Carlson, Founder and Managing Partner, the Practice of Innovation

For sixteen years, until 2014, I was president and CEO of SRI international, a 2,500 person R&D and innovation company in Silicon Valley, California. My vision was to have SRI make a profound, positive impact on the world by becoming “the premier independent source of high-value innovations.”

That vision would be accomplished by the comprehensive, company-wide use of innovation best practices. That is, we would succeed by religiously adhering to the fundamentals of innovation that dramatically increase the probability of success. We learned that today very few enterprises either use or understand the power of this approach.

During my tenure at SRI, its revenue more than tripled and SRI became a global model for the systematic creation of high-value innovations, such as HDTV, Siri on the iPhone-4, and many other world changing advances. These innovations created tens of billions of dollars of new economic value. Mayfield Venture partner David Ladd said, “SRI is now the leading company in the world at converting its technology into commercial value.”


Innovative success rates are generally poor today around the world.  My partners and I share the vision that the world’s innovative potential can be profoundly improved. This would create more meaningful jobs and greater economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, social services, and security. The innovation system described here, the Discipline and Practice of Innovation (DPI) builds on earlier practices and amplifies them to further help companies, governments, and educational institutions better succeed through innovation in our opportunity rich, but demanding world.

The BusinessWeek Top-10 book I wrote with Bill Wilmot, Innovation, The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want, describes our earlier innovation practices, which are now being used in the United States, Sweden, Finland, Chile, Asia, Japan, Brazil, Taiwan, and in other countries. We look forward to working with you, sharing innovation best practices, and developing the “next-generation” of innovation best practices. We encourage you to participate.

Douglas Engelbart, the visionary inventor of the computer mouse and the PC interface, described and demonstrated that what matters is how we work and collaborate. As we will discuss, there are large opportunities for improvements in innovative outcomes. The positive impact on our enterprises and society from addressing these opportunities is enormous. Our mission is to work with you to help make that happen.