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Johnson Stresses Corporate-University Partnership

Johnson Stresses Corporate-University Partnership

Ray O. Johnson speaks with a student after his talk. (Photo by Al Santos)
Ray O. Johnson speaks with a student after his talk. (Photo by Al Santos)

Ray O. Johnson, senior vice president and CTO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, delivered the first Whiting-Turner Business & Entrepreneurial Lecture of the fall semester on Thursday, November 8.

Johnson presented a wide-ranging overview of socioeconomic and global technology trends to define the world of today and the near future. He then focused on the role of technology experts in improving that world.

Specifically, he discussed the question of invention vs. innovation—invention meaning the development of an idea or the discovery of a fact, and innovation the application of that knowledge. He referred to Sony, Apple, Honda, Dell and Wal-Mart as examples.

Johnson then turned to Lockheed Martin, a company of 140,000 employees, half of them technical. He described Lockheed as an organization of innovators seeking inventor partners: university research labs and small companies. He stated that relying on university partners gave the company access to a much more diverse set of inventors than trying to create such a resource within the company.

Johnson concluded by describing Lockheed’s current list of strategic technologies and the convergence of engineering, business and strategy needed to bring these into reality. In the question and answer session that followed, he stressed the importance of systems engineering as a crucial factor in all future technological development.

The next Whiting-Turner lecture will be held on November 29. Clark School alumnus Robert Briskman (M.S. ’61, electrical engineering), co-founder of Sirius Satellite Radio, will speak about his experiences in the satellite radio industry. For more information on this lecture and the lecture series, please visit the lecture series web site.

Archived video from the lecture is available online.

November 9, 2007


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