Curtis Raymond Carlson (born May 22, 1945) was president and CEO of SRI International from 1998 to 2014 and is a prominent technologist and pioneer in developing and using innovation best practices. While CEO of SRI International, revenue tripled to $550 million per year and tens of billions of dollars of new marketplace value was created, such as through Siri, an SRI spin-off company that was bought by Steve Jobs at Apple. While Carlson was CEO Mayfield Ventures partner, David Ladd, said, “SRI is now the best enterprise at turning its technology into economic value.”
Carlson has advised CEOs, ministers, and prime ministers on innovation and economic policy, including in the U.S., Denmark, Japan, Lithuania, Finland, Brazil, Taiwan, and Singapore. He served on President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF).
Carlson is the Founder and CEO of Practice of Innovation, LLC, a company working with start-ups, established companies, and government agencies on improving innovative performance. The innovation methodology he created at SRI is now used by companies and governments around the world, including the U.S., Singapore, Taiwan, Sweden, Finland, Chile, and Japan. His methodology is based on the use of NABC value propositions. NABC stands for the important customer and market Need, the unique and defensible Approach for the product and business model, and the Benefits per costs (value) of the product when compared to the Competition or alternatives. The utility of this definition is that it is the minimial complete formulation for a value proposition. NABC value propositions can be understood and used across the entire enterprise, regardless of size or type.
A physics graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Ph.D. student in geophysical fluid dynamics from Rutgers University, he joined Sarnoff Corporation after graduation and performed research on computer vision, human perception, and digital video. While at Sarnoff, Carlson led teams that developed the HDTV standard and designed a system to assess broadcast image quality, both of which were awarded a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award. In 1998, Carlson was named CEO of SRI International.