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3M Scientist Receives Innovator of the Year Award for Achievements in Optical Science, Leadership in Innovation Processes

Monday, November 11, 2013 9:00 am CST

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ST. PAUL, Minn.

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MMM
"My work and the collaboration with my colleagues and with customers are pathways to impact and transform people’s lives with new ideas that come to life. I am deeply honored to be recognized as the 2013 Innovator of the Year by R&D Magazine."

ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dr. Andy Ouderkirk, Corporate Scientist for 3M’s Electronics Markets Materials Division, has received the 2013 R&D Magazine Innovator of the Year Award. This award honors Ouderkirk for demonstrated skills in leadership and innovation.

He is cited for excellence in research for inventing advanced optical films used in consumer electronics and furthering practical development processes. Ouderkirk’s research led to the creation of 3M Multilayer Optical Film with light management properties that conserve energy. The thin film is used in smart phones, computer displays, e-books, tablets and other consumer electronics devices to help improve battery life.

“Every year, the R&D Innovator of the Year Award goes to individuals, or teams of innovators, who display a rare mix of capabilities. First, it recognizes the ability to advance research and technology development in a fundamental way and, second, the ability to see how these discoveries could be applied, benefiting people in daily life,” said Paul Livingstone, member of the judging panel. “They show an awareness of the marketplace even as scientific curiosity drives them. These are the characteristics that have been displayed continuously by Andrew Ouderkirk in his work at 3M Company, and why R&D Magazine has chosen him as 2013 Innovator of the Year,” said Livingstone.

In his role as one of the company’s top scientists and member of 3M’s prestigious Carlton Society, Ouderkirk propagated materials research and shared technologies and knowledge in optics, lasers and polymer processing, adding to the company’s proprietary Light Management technology platform. Light Management serves as a core for product development of thin films. He is known for teaching and sharing his passion for the innovation process – both within 3M and in academia.

A physical chemist by training, Ouderkirk focuses on evaluating innovative practices that can lead to breakthroughs in new discoveries. Analysis holds that incremental discoveries are predictable within a lead market, while breakthrough innovations impact adjacent markets. Thus, inventions like Multilayer Optical Film first found application in electronics displays. Today, those films are also used in smart cards, solar panels, window films, LED light bulbs and with current research holding promise in opto-electronics.

Ouderkirk’s studies indicate innovators bring different skills to the invention process. Specialists bring depth of knowledge in a discipline. Specialist-generalists explore both depth in their research with world-class expertise, plus knowledge across disciplines and patent familiarity. Both are critical to the innovation process. Ouderkirk, himself, holds 170 patents.

“3M’s culture of openness, networking and freedom to cross disciplines and boundaries and take risk are all incredibly important to the success of the company and in nurturing employees’ creativity and growth,” said Ouderkirk. “My work and the collaboration with my colleagues and with customers are pathways to impact and transform people’s lives with new ideas that come to life. I am deeply honored to be recognized as the 2013 Innovator of the Year by R&D Magazine.”

Ouderkirk is a respected author and teacher who has more than 50 publications and invited presentations. He has been recognized by the American Chemical Society with the National Award for Creative Invention. He was elected into the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Andy has served on the advisory board of the Singapore National Research Foundation and the University of Southern California Center for Global Innovation. He is a Scientist-in-Residence with the Center for Innovation Research in Cultural Intelligence and Leadership at Nanyang Technological University.

The Innovator of the Year Award is presented each year to an individual or team who has demonstrated leadership, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and success in the pursuit of science and technology. This year’s ceremony was held November 7 in Orlando, Fla.

About 3M
3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M employs 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries. For more information, visit www.3M.com or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

3M is a trademark of 3M Company.

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3M's Dr. Andy Ouderkirk, inventor of 3M Multilayer Optical Film, named 2013 R&D Magazine Innovator of the Year. (Photo: 3M)
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Colleen Harris, 651-733-1566