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Mother knows best

Project-Catena is testament to Cadence’s incubator system’s ability to reach full term. By Paul Dempsey.

Many major companies are setting up internal incubator divisions, aiming to encourage innovation in-house by pulling on the perceived strengths of the start-up world.
Qualities they want to harness include: research based around small, focused teams; budget-led cost-control; and business planning that establishes technological and time-to-market goals. The thinking is that this model overcomes many bureaucratic and ‘not done here’ obstacles to certain types of R&D within a traditional corporate environment.
One company that has worked with the concept for some time is eda leader Cadence Design Systems. Ted Vucurevich, its chief technology officer, says its strategy began to take shape in 2000, when Cadence took steps to address two issues: how to most effectively exploit the concepts emerging at Cadence Laboratories, its industrial research division; and how to nurture projects that merited a lengthier gestation – one that the business was not ideally set up to provide.
“We have annual, sometimes semi-annual releases of software,” Vucurevich explains. “That cycle gives you a very short amount of time for engineering. You do a lot of specification and testing, and what you can devote to incrementally changing your products is relatively small.

Graham Pitcher

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