Former BT Labs researcher tells of frustration over R&D strategy

Former BT Labs researcher tells of frustration over R&D strategy
Steve Bush A leading virtual lifeform specialist has told Electronics Weekly that he left BT Laboratories through frustration with the company’s policy towards non-core innovation. “Unlike the American corporations, BT does not have the entrepreneurial model to spin-off companies to deal with ideas that are not directly connected with its mainstream business,” said Dr Chris Winters, who left BT last May. At BT Laboratories, Winters had responsibility for a significant part of the R&D budget, but left for relative tiddler CyberLife, a Cambridge-based virtual lifeform company. “CyberLife gets ideas out of the labs and into the market quickly,” he said. Winter’s criticism of BT’s intellectual agility was echoed recently when chief executive Sir Peter Bonfield admitted that it was slow to pick up on the work of its laboratories. He told a House of Commons committee: “We’re going to spin-off smaller companies and we’re going to start an intellectual property programme much more offensively.”


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