Academic journal article Research-Technology Management

A Well-Balanced Approach to Innovation: Joseph Miller

Academic journal article Research-Technology Management

A Well-Balanced Approach to Innovation: Joseph Miller

Article excerpt

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Joseph A. Miller Jr. is executive vice president and Chief Technology Officer of Coming Incorporated. Before joining Coming in 2007, Miller was Chief Technology Officer and senior vice president for research & development at E.I. DuPont de Nemours, Inc.

Q. What jobs do you think most prepared you for technology leadership?

A. I had a lot of research and technology experience early in my career with a great scientific and research organization (DuPont). But the experiences working in a big-time manufacturing organization and working for a couple of years at the customer interface had a huge impact on me.

I had a few sales and business development roles, where I was in the field. It was really a terrific rounding experience, to see how our products were used and the importance of a progressive technology strategy in the marketplace.

Q. In the course of your career, what was your biggest success or failure?

A. I try not to think of unsuccessful projects as failures. I try to think of them as experiences that teach you just how difficult it is to create a new business, because you fail a lot at creating new businesses. It's important to understand that not all innovation works, most especially when you are talking about really new products. Knowing when to turn the resources on and when to turn the resources off is critical.

Q. How do you decide when to double down and when to stop a project?

A. One thing that we emphasize is that you've got to test the market. Everything doesn't have to be perfect before you go out to customers. Put something in the customer's hands, put a prototype in their hands, give them something to feel. …

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