Research and Development has been the subject of many books, papers and articles. How do you optimise your return on investment in R&D? Some suggest it is a statistical game, the more ideas that are created the greater the probability of having a significant commercial success, others propose that working to solve your customer’s needs is the secret to success, which may well be true if your aim is to maintain and grow your existing market.

The observations I have made from my time working in R&D are:

  • Understanding your market is key, especially the requirements of your customers customer
  • Ensure that your R&D strategy is aligned to the strategy of the company
  • Have a clarity of purpose: for example, is the aim of your R&D to:
    • expand the existing product range and technical capability,
    • to open new markets,
    • employ your expertise in manufacturing to broaden the product range,
    • to grow market share with your existing customer base,
    • to compete on price by taking cost out of the supply chain,
    • to disrupt the market with a new technology and product range,
    • to expand into international markets,
    • …..
  • Satisfying the needs of your customer ensures your new product will have a customer
  • • Understand the reaction of your competitors – who will also be doing R&D!
  • Appreciate that the world doesn’t stand still, as you define and deliver your technology plan, a new technology may disrupt the market or a competitor may beat you in making the breakthrough,
  • Bring the skills, expertise, intelligence and capability of all departments to help direct your R&D (sales team, marketing department, manufacturing and engineering groups, support services ……) this will ensure that everyone has a voice in defining the future product mix that is the output from successful R&D.
  • Some of the best ideas come when least expected and so be open to all ideas, not just those created in the workplace or by your workforce.

If you want to discuss your product development plans please contact me.

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