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Showing posts from July, 2013

Does the academic process slow innovation?

I've been wondering recently whether the extended, baroque process of doing research in an academic setting (by which I mean either a university or an "academic style" research lab in industry) is doing more harm than good when it comes to the pace of innovation.

Prior to moving to industry, I spent my whole career as an academic. It took me a while to get used to how fast things happen in industry. My team, which is part of Chrome, does a new major release every six weeks. This is head-spinningly fast compared to academic projects. Important decisions are made on the order of days, not months. Projects are started up and executed an order of magnitude faster than it would take a similarly-sized academic research group to get up to speed.

This is not just about having plenty of funding (although that is part of it). It is also about what happens when you abandon the trappings of the academic process, for which the timelines are glacial:
A three month wait (typically) to …