Analog Devices Aims High With Tech “Garage” Atop Boston Skyscraper

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big, legacy corporations setting up headquarters or research and development hubs closer to cities, in part to help them attract young professionals who don’t want to work in the suburbs. GE and Philips are two of the most recent examples in Boston.

“We go where the talent is,” Roche says. “This is a magnet for kids. We have great associations with MIT, Northeastern,” and other local universities, he says.

Analog Devices employees and guests enjoy the fine weather on one of the Garage’s patios. Photo by Robert Pierce, courtesy of Analog.

Employees housed at the Garage include people hired specifically to work on R&D projects there, as well as people who transfer there from other business units for a period of time—say, a few months or a year or two. The team also helps Analog engineers located around the world develop their technology ideas, O’Doherty says.

“We manage it like a VC,” he says. Engineers pitch their ideas to the Garage, and if they get the green light, the engineers work on the project full-time and receive funding and coaching to see it through.

It’s a “process that has key deliverables for each stage,” O’Doherty says. “If you progress and meet those, you continue. If you don’t,” the project gets phased out, he adds.

Analog began implementing these new processes for entrepreneurial efforts in 2015, O’Doherty says. He says the company isn’t ready to release details about how many marketed products have emerged from Garage projects, how much revenue they’ve generated, or other signals of the return on the company’s investments in the initiative. But he insists it’s “paying off” and “will show up in new revenue and new growth.”

“We’d never do anything like this for brand value,” O’Doherty says. “We’re generating real innovation and results.”

[Top photo by Jeff Engel.]

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