Finding a Lower-Risk Path to High-Impact Innovations

The pursuit of major innovations is often seen as a risky endeavor. However, there is a lower-risk way to commercialize certain types of high-impact innovations — by viewing initial applications as “lily pads” that a company can reach before leaping to the next market.

When people talk about innovation, they often envision the big technical or conceptual advances that change the way we live — developments that have profound and lasting impact. Corning Inc.’s research in low-loss fused silica in the 1970s, which paved the way for breakthroughs in fiber-optic communications, sensing, and imaging applications, falls into this category. Early research ...

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