As companies transform themselves from national or multinational organizations into global businesses, the corporate R&D process must also be transformed. Forces driving this change include a need: to link more directly to customers and markets around the globe; to rapidly deploy product and process technologies throughout the business operations world-wide; and to remain abreast or ahead of competitors in access to technology regardless of its geographical origin.
Defining an optimal global R&D organization within a company depends on accurately defining corporate objectives and needs for global R&D. Such networks can serve either to access global technology or to disseminate centrally developed corporate technology. The structure and operations will be different in the two cases.
Finally, interactions between companies are becoming increasingly important. The growing complexity of technology implies that the necessary competencies for a successful research program may not be found in a single organization. Definition of the issues and recognition of each participant's contribution and stake in the outcome is necessary for success.