Getting to Grips with R&D within Your Business

The key to growing a successful company in any industry is innovation. While innovation may be expected in many parts of your organisation, it is certainly one of the critical components of all research and development. Many companies rely on R&D so that they are able to grow within their industry by developing new products; other companies use R&D for incremental improvements.

Being able to understand the various roles that R&D plays within industry and also recognizing its value in each of those roles is key to being able to support and enhance new innovations within your organization. So what are the key areas within R&D and how do you ensure that all of your staff are capable of working to a level that you deem to be necessary?

The Major Roles of R&D

There are three main roles of R&D within any industry that require new innovations in order to grow. These roles include:

Development – the first role of R&D is the development of the fundamental knowledge that is required within the industry – also known as the “enabling technologies”. These technologies are likely to have a major impact on the industry that they are involved in; however, it is impossible to know their absolute value. The purpose of the research may be exploratory in nature which means that there may be no guarantee of a financial return in the near future. Funding for these projects often comes from the corporate level as the research may involve an assortment of product lines or business units. Unfortunately, many knowledge-building activities will often be some of the first to be cut during lean times.

Support – another important function of R&D is to be able to support customers, business management and manufacturing. R&D companies and organisations often have a great deal of technical know-how and as such can be invaluable to a variety of industries. This can be demonstrated when a plant or company’s production problems are able to be solved extremely quickly or avoided altogether.R&D organisations are able to evaluate a variety of competitive technology which allows decision-makers to make decisions with greater confidence. It is possible to create new business opportunities by highlighting strengths and weaknesses in specific technologies and bringing understanding and knowledge to the table.

Technology – the final major function of R&D is to develop and put into practice new technologies. This role is often considered to be discretionary and is viewed as an investment which requires an acceptable return. Being able to pick the right project to work on is an extremely critical role of R&D management, which is made difficult by inaccurate information relating to valuation and marketing risk. Short-term projects are often favored as a result of this as they are easier to value and have less risk attached.

How to Learn More and Teach Your Staff

To be able to support your organization in its R&D efforts, it is important that you understand the current situation and any changes that are to be made to the R&D tax incentive and any actions. Many companies are able to provide an “R&D School” consisting of workshops and seminars that are able to increase your staff’s awareness of the benefits associated with claiming the R&D tax incentive and provide you with advice on how to move forward with an R&D project. So start benefiting from any incentives that you can claim on R&D projects and seek specialist advice if you are unsure of any part of the process.