Can You Outsource Innovation?

BusinessWeek is asking interesting questions about outsourcing innovation in this week's issue.

"R&D used to be treated as one big black box," says Vivek Paul, CEO of Indian info-tech services giant Wipro Technologies (WIT ), whose contract R&D service employs 8,000 engineers. "Now, companies are deconstructing the whole R&D chain, sorting out what's strategic and what's not."

To help provide answers, Parametric Technology (PTC), a Needham, (Mass.) producer of collaborative design software for 31,000 clients worldwide, commissioned a study of a typical R&D workforce of a typical electronics company. It concluded that about 30% of the jobs were "portable," meaning companies could shift them offshore. (From: R&D Jobs: Who Stays, Who Goes?)

Is there a point of no-return with offshoring and outsourcing?