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Smartest Scientist: Robert Morris
VP, Services Research, IBM Research

Robert Morris is an information man. As vice president of IBM Services Research, he spends his waking hours figuring out better ways to manage the flow of corporate information so that companies can be more productive. Put another way, he's the brains behind the $55 billion services business, a fast-growing field that is transforming enterprise technology.

Morris saw the services opportunity back in the 1990s while working in an IBM lab. Corporate tech departments, he observed, spent their time and money managing existing systems instead of using technology to improve their employers' main businesses.

Unlike many researchers, Morris shrewdly figured out a way to plug his observation into IBM's core business. Today he leads a team that finds ways to automate important but seemingly mundane functions (digitizing health records, say) so that employees can spend their time doing more important and innovative things, like finding better ways to care for hospital patients. "It's all about the substitution of information for labor to solve these pressing human problems," Morris says. "Whoever figures out that substitution will triumph." --J.P.M

NEXT: Scientist Runner-up: Leonard Bell
Last updated July 09 2010: 1:19 PM ET
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