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Cordell Hardy, PhD

Navigating the Balance of Ambition and Returns in Global R&D

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“To value a portfolio, you have to be able to forecast and if you’re not in the business of delivering on forecasts, then your innovative roadmap is not going to turn out to be too valuable.”

In this episode, we are joined by Cordell Hardy, PhD, Senior Vice President of Corporate R&D Operations at 3M. With more than 20 years of experience at 3M, Cordell is a seasoned R&D leader driving business growth by combining skillful management, technical breadth, and business acumen on a global scale.

Having shared responsibility for a wide range of products worldwide, Cordell has become a true expert in the field of portfolio management. In this informal exchange, we not only explore the question of what a balanced portfolio looks like and how this “balance” can be achieved but also learn about the role that the net present value and the degree of innovation of new investments play in this context. Want to know more? Listen to the full episode!

The episode at a glance:

  • Who is Cordell? (00:00:36)
  • Cordell, please complete the 3 sentence starters… (00:01:23)
  • A very brief insight into Cordell’s work at the non-profit organization Minnesota Community Care (00:04:34)
  • R&D and Innovation at 3M
    • Cordell about his leading function of a geographically and functionally diverse technical organization that supports the 4 global business groups within 3M (00:05:47)
    • Do you think the word “innovation” is at risk of being commoditized or overused? (00:08:17)
    • What separates winning companies from others who are just “muddling along” when it comes to “doing science”? (00:10:28)
    • Where do you see opportunities for new ways of doing business, and how can you use them to drive growth? (00:15:09)
  • The “Either-Or” game (00:18:47)
  • Portfolio Compositions
    • How can organizations achieve the right balance in their portfolio? (00:21:28)
    • What does a well-balanced portfolio look like then? (00:24:34)
    • What does the decision-making process look like at 3M? (00:27:39)
    • How to ensure that the portfolio is linked to strategy and the resources are allocated in a way to support the overall goal? (00:29:27)
    • What are some of the most pressing H2 or H3 challenges and opportunities you’re currently facing at 3M? (00:32:05)
  • Cordell’s actionable key recommendations to take away from this episode (00:33:44)
  • Looking back: Cordell’s Innovation Rockstar moment (00:36:52)

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