Skip to Content


Humans and technology

Building a culture of innovation in research and development

Semiconductor memory chip company Micron prioritizes a fail fast mentality and diversity to meet market demands.

In association withMicron

Memory and storage solutions for technology are built into our everyday life, from mobile applications, cars, health-care systems, and more. To meet that need and help propel innovation, Micron Technology said it would invest $150 billion into research and development to build factories for its semiconductor memory chips. This investment looks to expand not only the reach of memory chips but also to innovate new solutions to common problems, says Naga Chandrasekaran, senior vice president of technology development at Micron.

“The day we stop innovating, not just in memory, but as a human race, the day we stop innovating, we stop progressing and that's not where we want to be. We want to continue to drive innovation,” says Chandrasekaran.

With each iteration of new technology, from phones to cars, consumers are looking for improved performance, lower latency, more storage, and lower costs. Meeting these expectations means finding solutions at an atomic scale and making micro changes to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Since its inception 44 years ago, Micron has developed over 50,000 patents. While Chandrasekaran emphasizes that patents are just one part of fostering innovation, they do represent the strides toward greater innovations and the company culture that Micron has worked to establish.

While having strong team members is important, the culture that a company fosters is just as crucial when it comes to seeing positive results. Chandrasekaran says that building successful teams that can create so many patents and build technologies with an eye on innovation requires a certain company mindset that doesn’t shy away from mistakes or failure.

“So we are taking risks on a regular basis, but the key is to make sure we can fail fast and not see those failures as a mistake, but actually learn from them.” Chandrasekaran continues, “That's why failing fast is important, but not being afraid of failing.”

In addition to taking risks, diversity has become a significant contributor to driving new solutions. Between 2017 and 2021, the number of women listed as inventors on Micron patent applications quadrupled. Chandrasekaran says that for any sustained success and innovation to be possible, diversity is necessary.

“No matter what we say, we are all limited in our thought process in how we approach problems, in how we approach solutions. And even with a growth mindset, we have limitations, because we are who we are based on the experiences and the exposures that we have gained,” says Chandrasekaran. “So diversity brings in not just from a gender diversity or ethnic diversity, but if we look at diversity from a broader scale, it's diversity of thought process.”

This episode of Business Lab is produced in association with Micron Technology.

Laurel Ruma: From MIT Technology Review, I'm Laurel Ruma and this is Business Lab. The show that helps business leaders make sense of new technologies coming out of the lab and into the marketplace.

Our topic today is technological innovation. Patents play a key role in technology development and innovation for many companies, especially ones that focus on collaboration, efficiency, and ingenuity, and with investments in research and development increasing, they could also be a key competitive differentiator.

Two words for you: patent pending.

Joining me is Naga Chandrasekaran, senior vice president of technology development at Micron Technology. Naga himself has a number of patents on various technologies.

This podcast is sponsored by Micron Technology.

Welcome, Naga.

Naga Chandrasekaran: Thank you, Laurel. Thanks for having me for this podcast. And I'm excited to share some of my thoughts.

Laurel: Great to have you. So, last fall Micron said it would invest more than $150 billion on research and development to build memory semiconductor chip factories. How will the company's focus on innovation help it reach this goal?

Naga: For the listeners benefit, I want to do a quick introduction on Micron. Micron is the leader in semiconductor memory technology development and manufacturing. And we provide a wide range of memory and storage solutions that all the listeners might experience, whether it's in a compute solution or mobile applications, graphics, automotive, and edge solutions. Our mission is to transform how the world uses information to enrich life for all. Semiconductor memory is everywhere. And all the listeners either directly or indirectly are getting touched by this innovative technology every day from the time we wake up to making coffee or looking at our phones when we drive our car to work or where we want to go, and to complex applications like health care, bioinformation, and security details.

In order to deliver to this wide range of applications and to meet the mission of transforming how we use information, semiconductor memory technology is playing a very important role, and Micron, as a leader in this space, we consider it as our responsibility and a priority to make the right investments to continue to drive innovation and enhancements in this technology. So, the $150 billion in research and development that we announced recently, it's in line with this belief that we have, that the requirements for semiconductor based innovation will grow, not only in volume, which is more capacity for innovations, but also in the breadth, in the type of applications that we have to enable, in new solutions that we can provide to make life better for everyone and the advancements in solutions for better capabilities and insights that we can gain from data.

So, Micron's investment in the research and development is to make sure we are continuing to further the semiconductor memory technology, but with it, we want to make sure the world is now able to take the data that it is generating and gain more insights from it in real time. And for that, we are continuing to make sure that from process technology all the way to systems software and the whole end solution is provided so that customers can see better value from the data that they're generating.

Laurel: How does Micron use research and development to differentiate itself from competitors?

Naga: Semiconductor industry is a tough one. Over the last four or five decades since the invention of the transistors, the industry has been on a constant treadmill of continuing to develop new solutions that are better for performance, lower power, more density, and lower cost. It is an amazing industry if you go back and look at the history of how year over year, we have been able to provide faster solutions, more storage, but continuing to push to a lower cost. And all of this requires us to keep pushing the boundaries of physics. We are moving from millimeters to micrometers to nanometers. And now what we are doing is in the atomic scale, we are actually dealing with atoms and electrons. And in some cases there are so few electrons in the solutions we provide that we jokingly say, we know the electrons by their first name.

So, as we keep pushing the boundaries so much, it depends on our industry continuing to drive the innovation treadmill. And that goes unnoticed a lot of times. And in order to keep this innovation going, we have to invest into our research and development, not only for today and the next three years, but 10 years down the road and 15 years down the road where we need to be. From the industry wise, definitely there's a lot of competition and every semiconductor memory manufacturer wants to be in leadership when it comes to technology or manufacturing. But I want to see it as how we differentiate eventually depends on our customers' success. So, Micron works very close with our customers to make sure we understand their requirements, what end markets they are driving and what are the end users' needs, whether it's a cell phone manufacturer who might want to continue to drive lower power and better performance so that our end users can take advantage of the new 5G revolution that's happening.

It's in the automotive industry where reliability is a big requirement, and we try to make sure our solutions can deliver better quality in graphics, whether it's gaming industry, where the gamers are looking for faster performance, how can we deliver these fast performance and higher bandwidth? So we constantly drive ourselves to say, how can we be leaders in technology? That's foundation for Micron. We want to make sure we are technology leaders. And that's where innovation comes in to make sure we can enable revolutionary experience for our users. It's not just technology for the sake of building something. We have to take it to manufacturing and eventually deliver it at the right cost point for our customers.

So leadership in manufacturing also requires a lot of innovation to meet supply efficiency and cost targets. And like I said earlier, the technology solutions today are vertically integrated from silicon to systems, there's a lot of trade-offs that happens, whether it's in the hardware, software and the services that we provide, we have to make sure there's innovation and we are enabling a complete ecosystem. So the R&D dollars and the R&D effort that we are taking is applying our brilliant R&D staff across all these vectors, silicon technology to hardware, software, and continuing to make sure we are differentiating ourselves by the solutions we provide so that we can meet our end customer requirements.

Laurel: Well, thank you for giving that background on how vast the semiconductor business really is. So really, it's from your cell phone to your car, to almost unimaginable applications at this point. So when we take that, especially being at the atomic level of where you are now, that is a far journey from 44 years ago when the company was first founded. So in that 44 years, Micron has had issued almost 50,000 patents on various technologies. What has the role of these patents played in building this kind of legacy?

Naga: It's a great question. And backing up on your previous comment, the breadth of how semiconductor solutions and in particular, the memory solutions touch all of us, we forget about it and take it for granted. And it's these atomic scale solutions that are even in our refrigerators and coffee machines and alarm clocks today, waking us up. And I hope our listeners take a minute to actually appreciate the type of technology innovation that we are surrounded by today. So back to the question on the patents, in my opinion, patent is just one aspect of innovation. It's a representation of the innovative culture that a company has. The patents that Micron has developed over the last 44 years, as you clearly highlighted, placed a foundational role in our technologies that we are delivering. Our patent portfolio is very broad. It's in the process technology area, whether it's in developing new material solutions or new process solutions, it's in the manufacturing area, how do we run more efficient factories and make them continue to deliver better output and meet the supply chain requirements?

We are touching almost every material in the periodic table and starting to look at how we can continue to deliver new solutions using advanced materials. And we have several innovations in the area of material signs. So this is where our journey started. And the areas that I highlighted continue to be a focus for us. That's around the silicon development from circuit design to materials, to new processes. But as Micron has grown over these 44 years and started to provide more vertically integrated solutions, we have started generating our IP in the ADS of system solutions, software and firmware. And now we are starting to generate intellectual property to enable faster solution time for delivering our technologies in the area of data science machine learning. In fact, we are partnering to generate new innovations in health care and bioinformatics and how we are able to store and move data in the cloud.

So, the patent portfolio that we have is in a very broad set of areas, but eventually underpinning them to the memory technology and the storage technologies that we are developing and delivering to our customers. Circling back to my first point, I don't want to just say patent is the only way to showcase our innovation because many times there are ideas that we do not patent, and innovation is a daily occurrence, every minute occurrence, and there's innovation that's happening all around Micron in every area from finance to human resources, to legal, and these innovations, whether they are in the business process are in hardcore technology. All of them underpin Micron's solutions that we deliver to our customers. And a patent is a way for us to show the world and our customers that Micron's a strong technology company. We have a breadth of solutions and by delivering these patents–50,000 plus–what we are driving both internally and externally is the visibility to how innovation is the foundation to Micron and the whole memory industry success.

Laurel: And that is certainly so important, but you too have played such a major role in that type of success. So, can you tell us a little bit more about the patents you have worked on and filed?

Naga: Yeah, and my patent portfolio is minuscule compared to the 50,000 patents that Micron has, but I do take pride just as any other innovator in the patents that I have contributed to Micron. In fact, we have a wall in Micron technology development in Boise here, and we call it the wall of fame. And the wall is started with patents that have been issued for Micron. And the first time I took my kids to the factory and showed them around, I was actually standing there trying to figure out where my patents were, so that I can show them my name and the patents that were issued against my name. And it was a moment of pride for me. And every Micron employee is proud of the patents that they have contributed towards. So I joined Micron in 2001 and joined as a process development engineer. And over the last 20 years that I've worked for Micron, I've had the privilege and the opportunity to have over 40 patents issued in my name.

And they have been in the area of, again, process technology, material science, underpinning towards memory solutions. And I've had some patents in solar and more recently starting to get engaged in machine learning and data science and writing some disclosures even today in those areas, because innovation never stops. And like I said, you can innovate no matter which position you are in, but that's my past. And today as a senior vice president for technology development, I shoulder the responsibility to make sure we are continuing to drive an innovative culture. The day we stop innovating, not just in memory, but as a human race, the day we stop innovating, we stop progressing and that's not where we want to be. We want to continue to drive innovation. So, my role today is to see how I can drive innovative culture and continue to enable innovation inside the walls of Micron so that we can continue to be technology leaders and develop solutions.

Laurel: Well, 40 patents is quite impressive from where I sit. So, congratulations on that feat. And I love the thought of you and your kids and the hallway. What a nice way to make a physical celebration of something that is so difficult to understand otherwise. So, I think that hall of fame is actually quite nice to show off.

Naga: Yeah. And I've seen everyone who has their name up there is very excited. And when we bring our new hires into Micron, the next generation of hires into Micron, we show them our wall of fame. And many of them want to get their name up there. So it's also a motivation to start writing disclosures and getting patents issued.

Laurel: Well, speaking of that, how do you then build these kinds of successful teams that can create and file so many patents and build these technologies with an eye on innovation? Because, really, without teamwork, you're not getting to those 50,000 patents.

Naga: Yeah. Yeah. It's a very good question, because it's our teams that are driving the innovation. And like I said, again, our goal is to innovate every day, and a patent is an end result, but it is not the only way to showcase your innovation. If you get a patent out of an innovation, that's great, but there are so many reasons why certain innovations might get patented and some might remain a trade secret and not get patented. So we don't measure our innovation purely by the patents, but eventually by how our innovative culture is flourishing and how many innovations we are generating that eventually end up in our products and help our customers. So, we have to develop this innovative culture within the company. And for a technology company it's relatively easy, but extremely important to remind people constantly that innovation is the only way that we stay as leaders and innovation is the only way that we are going to continue to make progress.

And we call it our DNA and keep reminding our people that it's what we do and how we innovate is what's going to make a change around us in the world we live in, and also for the people around us, innovation is going to be important. So how we drive it, a big part of innovation is risk taking. And one of the things that can stifle innovation is the fear of failure. So we constantly remind our team that you have to take risks and you have to be willing to explore into areas that have never been explored before. In fact, we are in the frontiers of science with challenging physics every day and challenging different technologies to see how we can keep pushing ourselves. So we are taking risks on a regular basis, but the key is to make sure we can fail fast and not see those failures as a mistake, but actually learn from them. That's why failing fast is important, but not be afraid of failing. And we constantly tell our teams to take risks and continue to bring it out and celebrate sometimes that we have failed, but failed fast and learned from it. And we are as a result coming up with new innovations.

The other piece that we do with our developing the innovative culture is to make sure the innovations that we are coming up with are not just innovation for the sake of innovation, but they become a core part of our end process and product so that our team members can see that what they have innovated is not just the patent that's a plaque sitting on a wall or in a wall of fame, but it's actually made into a product.

And that product is now released in the industry. And there are users, including their family members who are using it, and they can proudly point out that, hey, I contributed to this innovation, or the company that I work for contributed to this innovation that we all now have smartphones. And we are able to change how we lead our life, where we don't need maps to go around and we can have maps on our phones that tells us how to reach from point A to point B. Well, memory technology enabled it also. So that pride, we continue to showcase with our team members. And in order to help them feel the pride and feel rewarded, we have several programs where we recognize the wall of fame as one, but we actually innovated in how we recognize our innovators every year, giving them cubes that have embedded in them elements from the periodic table that are used in our semiconductor manufacturing process. So here's a great example of how we innovated and how we reward.

And in fact, it's such a cool cube that you can display on your desk that recently I wrote a disclosure just to get one of those cubes. And there's going to be several of these every year, we'll circle through the periodic table. And as a result, it's forcing me to write at least one disclosure every year. So it's not just a monetary reward, but the pride of showcasing these cubes on our desk that others can see and recognize us as innovators. So Micron has implemented a great reward program in how we recognize and celebrate our innovators. All of these are pieces that are contributing to our innovative culture and how we are building this teams to have the innovative mindset as part of their DNA.

Laurel: What a clever idea, because some of those elements of the periodic table are quite rare, and a little bit of competition never hurts, but to put that in perspective in 2021, nearly 1,500 employees contributed to 2,600 patent grants. So, that's a lot of grants being issued in one year, and granted, that was a record. With that kind of success, how do you see that evolving the culture at Micron versus the fail forward fast, people think of that as a Silicon Valley mantra, but here you are in Boise, Idaho in the middle of the United States. And this is a different perspective that the company has taken on realizing to stay competitive, it also has to innovate and change the culture itself.

Naga: And to be fair, Micron's a very global company. We started in Boise, Idaho, 44 years back, but today as a global company, Micron has teams within the US in several states and in California, in Virginia. And we also have teams in Japan, Italy, India, Taiwan, Singapore, and many other places where we have our design centers, in Germany and different locations. So, it's a global mindset. What started locally back in 1978, today it has flourished and grown to a global company, not just within our employee base, but also with our customer base that we are working with is global. So, we had to make the transformation from being local to global, and that has helped us to drive our innovation as well. That global mindset thought process has helped us quite a bit. So today we don't, even though Boise is seen not as the Silicon Valley, the global nature of Micron has actually helped us drive this innovative culture across the company and in Boise.

And I actually say that in Idaho, there are two chips that are famous. One is the potato chips and the other one is the semiconductor chip. And Micron, the world's leading semi connector memory manufacturer, is in Boise, Idaho, and we have the coolest R&D factory here. And we have gotten a very diverse set of employees and a melting pot of cultures here in Boise now within the Micron walls you will see a really global mindset and a global dispersion of people from different parts of the world here. So I don't think it has been challenging at all for us to have this innovative culture built inside Micron because of the global mindset that we have developed here.

Laurel: The number of women listed as innovators, sorry, inventors on those patent applications was four times greater in 2021 than 2017. What steps is Micron taking to further increase diversity? And how does diversity contribute to that success? You talked a bit about the global diversity itself, but you still have to really work that into the culture everywhere.

Naga: Yeah, it's a very good question and a very, very important one given some of the things happening around us. I strongly believe and Micron as a company strongly believes that diversity and innovation go hand in glove. We cannot have innovation or sustained innovation if we do not have diversity. No matter what we say, we are all limited in our thought process in how we approach problems, in how we approach solutions. And even with a growth mindset, we have limitations, because we are who we are based on the experiences and the exposures that we have gained. So, diversity brings in not just from a gender diversity or ethnic diversity, but if we look at diversity from a broader scale, it's diversity of thought process. And the diversity of thought process starts bringing in the diverse nature of the problems that we have to deal with. And in the end it also brings diverse solution possibilities. And we strongly believe that's required for sustained innovation to happen.

That's the diversity piece. So I'll address the specific question that you were asking about the women as inventors. I think it's very important for us to make sure in our workforce we have equal representation. And with that equal representation, we have the right inclusive culture that's going to enable everyone to be inventors, and everyone to be recognized as inventors across the company. So Micron has had several women inventors, but we made a conscious effort to continue to make sure we can give more opportunities that is more inclusive of our workforce and make sure we can have more women enlisted as inventors who in turn can be examples for other women that we are hiring and coming onto Micron so that they can see them as examples and continue to follow the path.

So one of the things that we came up with recently was a program, within our employee resource group we have a Micron Women Leadership Network Resource Group. And as part of it, we started a program called women inventors or women innovators. And we walked with them about the importance of innovation, but more importantly, trying to help educate them as to how a disclosure is written and what ideas qualify as disclosures and not worry about in the end, whether they become patents or not, but continue to display your innovation ideas and write them into disclosures. And a good thing here was we actually had a diverse group of sponsors and teachers who were in this group educating all the women about the possibilities of disclosures that we can write. And the program was very well received. And we had several disclosures that the team wrote and many of them were awarded for the patent reward in the end.

But what really excited me was in the subsequent years where we had new cohorts, but the cohorts from the first year, majority of them had repeat innovations that they submitted. Now they had started understanding about the disclosures and they started getting recognized and it became now a habit of writing up your innovation, writing the disclosures and getting it to be recognized as patents. So the repeat inventors were something that really gave us commitment to this program and we are continuing to drive it forward. So for me, it's being able to highlight and recognize the growing contributions of their team members, giving them the opportunity, bringing it to light and showcasing it that there is no limit here, everyone can be inventors and I'm continuing to reward them and celebrate them has paved the way for more women to become inventors as well. So, that's one that we are very proud of in how we are continuing to drive this diversity.

And if I may continue on this a little bit to also talk about another aspect of this diversity is collaboration. And there is, at least for some people, a misconception that collaboration and innovation are two different things. Inventors are always individuals, so then how can you collaborate? I actually think collaboration enhances innovation. It goes hand in hand with this diversity. When you have a diverse team sitting together and talking about problems and brainstorming about ideas, they can come up with new solutions that a single mind was never able to come up with. So collaboration and diversity together are really driving forward innovation. And collaboration, innovation are both key core values for Micron. And we are very proud of how we celebrate them here.

Laurel: We've talked quite a bit about culture in our conversation, but with that culture of innovation and collaboration also comes performance. So, it's the performance of technologies, it's the performance of the teams, it's the performance of the company. So, what performance barriers need to be overcome to bring better products to market?

Naga: I'm assuming here, Laurel, that you're talking to the product performance barriers that we have to deliver to the market. Performance is always a critical consideration. I call there are different levels of performance and the performance has to meet a certain level as an entry point. That's a requirement. So from the solutions that we deliver, we constantly talk about speed, and speed we refer to it as performance with respect to how fast our memory is able to operate. What is the latency? For example, if you have a phone and you have 5G connection, you are connected to the network, you want to be able to download things faster, store more of this information and be able to pay less for that phone. So, that's the specs. And every phone that we buy, we have gotten into the habit of buying a phone every year. And these phones now have to be faster, more storage, but not cost more, have better battery life and be able to have more applications downloaded and operating in parallel.

So, when we look at our performance consideration, there are a few things across the spectrum of products that we define. One is the performance/speed. Second is power, which we have to always reduce. The third is the latency in reducing it all the time, improving the overall efficiency of our hardware and software in how it's able to run, like I said, more applications in parallel. And eventually it still has to be at a cost point so that it can have deeper penetration across the world with all our customers. The first time we start a project, we call it a technology node year over year. And it's a hard project for us to bring a new solution to market every year. We are typically working on the solution five years earlier, we started the project five years earlier and for a memory that's going to come out next year, it was started four years before.

And then we are starting at that point, we are defining these specs and the first reaction is always, wow, I don't know how to do it, because nobody else has done it. And we'll have to first break that mindset barrier that it cannot be done, because the day we say it cannot be done, we have stopped progressing and innovating. So while it sounds daunting because there is no solution like that exists today, we have to look at our past and say, “hey, we have come as a semiconductor industry for the last 50, 60 years progressing year over year. And when the first transistors were invented, they probably never thought about today's world.”

So, actually the big challenge is to get over that mindset barrier first and start changing the question from, start changing it from a statement of it cannot be done to how can it be done? And once the question changes to how can it be done? Now an idea starts coming out and you're now starting to make a down selection to which ideas have better chances of success, or how do you fail fast and then start putting it together into a plan and start working towards it. And in this five years, we'll have hundreds of failures, but we'll have those golden nuggets of success that eventually deliver us to better product performance. So while there are performance barriers that we'll have to overcome through technology solutions with new materials, new architecture, new design, new equipment, new software solutions, the first step is to overcome the human mindset barrier. Once we do it, the rest of that happens.

Laurel: So, we've really talked about a number of things throughout our conversation today, and that culture is so important in collaboration and innovation. So how do you keep building that culture that really enables future technological innovations?

Naga: Yeah, it's a very good question, Laurel, and a challenging one, because I've read somewhere that culture eats strategy for breakfast, something along those lines. And it is really that culture that's going to drive, not just companies but societies and whether it's a culture around the technological breakthrough or culture around diversity, or the culture around sustainability. All of these require us to invest in the next generation of inventors and human beings who are going to continue to drive this culture. So one of the things that keeps me up at night outside of the technology challenges is—like I said, I have been in the industry now for 21 years—and I'm looking at the new hires who are coming on board with lots of dreams today. And the challenge that keeps me up at night is to say, how are we going to build the right culture that this team is going to now learn, but also start developing their own culture for innovation going forward and how are they going to sustain Micron and the industry for the next 20 years, 25 years and pass it on?

And it is a big challenge. So the main thing that we start doing here is to start building our storyline around how Micron has been successful in the industry over the last 45 years, 44 years. And it is through innovation, it is through coming up with technological breakthroughs. It is by being first to market with new ideas and start weaving in the story of how these innovations are not just about a business top line or bottom line. It is also about how we are making changes in people's lives. And these innovations matter beyond a memory chip that gets hidden into an end device and is just going to perform faster or better, but how is it transforming lives?

And we are proud to showcase those stories, how a memory solution is now helping to beat cancer faster. How memory solutions enable doctors to diagnose diseases faster. How memory solutions are helping us get more intelligence from the data we are generating so that it's helping make this world more greener by getting to a better sustainable product solution. And that resonates more with the employees that we are hiring today is the end purpose. So, the culture of innovation, the culture of continuing to drive technological breakthroughs is enabled by helping everyone understand the bigger picture of how their innovations are going to change the world and making everything a better place beyond just delivering a memory solution. That's at a very high level. We are trying to connect how memory is making a difference in this world and how their innovations are actually helping build a better society.

On a tactical front, I already talked about some of the programs that we are driving, some of the reward programs, continuing to have a more inclusive, innovative culture, and how we can have more innovators be recognized, rewarded, and celebrated. All of those are helping us to build the culture. And on an organization front, trying to make sure we are setting the clear problem statement to our team members and trying to make sure they understand the priorities and help these problem statements be the sparks for innovative thinking and help them to continue to understand that the process of innovation involves diversity, the process of innovation involves collaboration and the process of innovation involves sharing and recognizing each other. And eventually we are doing this to be better as a human being, but also building better societies and have fun doing it. That's the key in the end is if we don't have fun innovating, then we won't do it. So how do we make innovation a fun process?

Those are the things that we are working on. I said, I highlighted a lot of things there, but building a culture, you can do so much, but eventually the culture has to build itself and start evolving and developing new things within the culture for it to sustain in the long term. And that's what we are trying to do is to help teach our teams why this is important and let them continue to define the culture as we move forward with the goal of making sure we can continue to drive technology towards the future.

Laurel: That's excellent. Naga, thank you so much for joining us today on the Business Lab.

Naga: Thank you very much, Laurel.

Laurel: That was Naga Chandrasekaran, senior vice president of technology development at Micron Technology, who I spoke to from Cambridge, Massachusetts, the home of MIT and MIT Technology Review overlooking the Charles River.

That's it for this episode of Business Lab, I'm your host, Laurel Ruma. I'm the global director of Insights, the custom publishing division of MIT Technology Review. We were founded in 1899 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And you can find us in print, on the web and at events each year around the world. For more information about us and the show, please check out our website at

This show is available wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoyed this episode, we hope you'll take a moment to rate and review us. Business Lab is a production of MIT Technology Review. This episode was produced by Collective Next. Thanks for listening.

This content was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.

Deep Dive

Humans and technology

Human-plus-AI solutions mitigate security threats

With the right human oversight, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep business and customer data secure

Merging physical and digital tools to build resilient supply chains

Using unique product identifiers and universal standards in the supply chain journey, the whole enterprise can unlock extended value

Unlocking the value of supply chain data across industries

How global standards and unique identifiers are turning supply chain data into a game-changer

Transformation requires companywide engagement

Employees need to be heard for leaders to overcome the hurdles of organizational change

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.