The IRI 2038 Scenarios
Four Views of the Future
The IRI 2038 initiative offers four views of the future and analyzes how they might shape R&D management.
Ted Farrington and Christian Crews
OVERVIEW: As part of its 75th anniversary celebration, IRI commissioned the IRI2038 initiative, a strategic foresights project asking how events, developments, and emerging trends might shape the art and science of research and technology
management over the next 25 years. A key deliverable of this 18-month project is the four provocative yet plausible scenarios presented here. The scenarios are presented and analyzed individually and collectively in terms of their values, conflicts, and impacts on R&D project, portfolio, people, and organizational management processes.
KEYWORDS: Scenarios, Foresight, Product development, Research-on-research
In 2013, as part of its 75th anniversary celebration, the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) commissioned a project to consider the shape of R&D in IRI’s 100th year. IRI2038 explored
how trends emerging today might affect the art and science of
research and technology management into the future.
Strategic foresight projects such as IRI2038 are not about
predicting the future. Rather, they are about creating provocative, yet plausible views of the future. Examining several
possible futures can help organizations prepare to face the
actual future as it unfolds. The four scenarios that emerged
from the IRI2038 project are widely divergent. Yet, even as
the specific implications of the scenarios vary, some common
• Artificial intelligence (AI) systems will play increasing
roles in both project and portfolio management.
• Talent management will be replaced by temporary resource
acquisition as most of the workforce will be freelance.
Ted Farrington is senior director, PepsiCo Advanced Research, working in
the food processing arena. He has worked for several consumer products...