Rogue Inventor Saul Griffith Is Radicalizing R&D — With Inflatable Arms – post on Wired about Griffith, who runs a small independent R&D lab in San Francisco, Otherlab. He makes some interesting observations about research labs in general.
But he’s also concerned with the way the industry works. Before World War II, most research was done in independent labs, he says. Since, it’s been largely at universities and large corporations.
“That became an incredibly dominant paradigm,” he says. “And there are some advantages and some nice things about that system, but I certainly don’t think that it’s the only way to do R&D that’s valuable to the world, and even profitable, and I think it’s really worth trying to reinvigorate small independent research labs. I still think they are the most cost-efficient, they can attract talent, they can be very nimble and move very quickly, and I think there should be a lot more places like this.”
“I think it actually, it doesn’t cost much anymore to have a research facility that can compete with Stanford and Berkeley and MIT,” he says, adding that Otherlab has acquired enough tools to do most of what he could at MIT, where he got his doctorate in engineering. “You might need a couple of specialized expensive tools, but it’s democratized.”
Totally unrelated, I like Otherlab’s People page. All of the photos (except the one of Griffith, surprisingly), look like real people who like what they do.