Two years ago managers of Nortel Networks (NT) unveiled a risky wager to transform the troubled telecom equipment maker through innovation and design. Their agenda included modernizing research and development, creating so-called future-proof gear, and experimenting with emerging technologies ranging form virtual worlds to Web 2.0. “We’re not tweaking; we’re turning Nortel on its head,” John Roese, Nortel’s chief technology officer, said last August, describing the changes underway.