Moving R&D to the Front End of Innovation

Tuesday, 13 March 2012 11:55
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I think that within many companies, R&D has the ability to play a more pivotal role than it currently does in then new product ideation process. Care to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

Moving R&D to the Front End of Innovation

Though there are exceptions, many companies still rely heavily upon Marketing to set their new product agenda and on R&D to support it. I strongly believe that if properly channeled, R&D can also be a powerful ally to Marketing in defining new technical possibilities at the front end of innovation, versus being strictly relegated to a supportive role.

As one with both consumer products marketing and product developer experience, I am keenly aware that Marketing's needs and interests are subject to influence and inspiration. I also know that it is far easier for Marketing to get excited abot a new opportunity at the ideation stage than if R&D were to try to bubble it up after the new product agenda has been set.

Allow me to offer a hypothetical example (which applies a real, existing, licensable technical opportunity) to seek to make my point:

Aunt Mable's Breakfast Products Company is seeking new ways to increase food preparation convenience as a means of attracting new customers. During their new product ideation session, John from R&D suggests that they consider the development of a waterless instant pancake mix to simplify meal prep. He knows of an encapsulation technology that can release stored water with agitation. It can be incoprated into a dry pancake mix to produce a flavorful pancake batter without the addition of water. Mary from Marketing loves the idea and decides to evaluate it with consumers.

How extensively is your company leveraging its R&D creative brainpower in the new product ideation process? Could it do more? 


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