Innovation and Research and Development (R&D) are closely linked, even if they represent two different things. However, they are part of a company strategy to constantly adapt its products and processes or create new ones to meet market needs. R&D is the driving force behind innovation and the key to the company’s competitiveness. But can we innovate without having an efficient R&D structure? We’ll try to answer that question.
Is it possible to innovate without an R&D structure?
Do not confuse Innovation and R&D
An innovation is the implementation of a new product or process with superior performance in one of these aspects: ergonomics, eco-design, functionality or technology. R&D brings together creative work that has made it possible to acquire an increase in knowledge in relation to the state of the art and a confrontation with the technological obstacles and difficulties that will have been identified. Innovation and R&D are moving in the same direction but they do not start from the same place and do not go at the same speed. R&D is a long-term vision of the organization, of the company’s strategy, innovation is part of the company’s short-term economic model. R&D consumes money while innovation should make money.
In short, innovation is market-oriented while R&D is scientific and technological.
Innovation possible without R&D?
Even if you are a clairvoyant, it is impossible to predict the future and to know if the product you want to develop is the future competitor of “Apple” or the revolutionary future cream that will replace the “BB cream”. You have carried out a market study and taking into account the technical performance criteria, functionalities, ergonomics of the products currently available and you have acquired the certainty that your product far exceeds what exists. Are you absolutely certain?
This is where R&D comes into play. The state of the art does not allow solutions to be found for everything, which is why experiments are essential to validate or invalidate certain hypotheses. Innovation comes after research and development activities.
The roles of R&D
R&D experiments, develops, tests many ideas, keeps the most relevant ones and renews experiments to acquire more and more knowledge. It is a long, complex, costly and risky process. The research and development activity allows the transition from the idea or concept to a product that can be manufactured under acceptable economic conditions. R&D actors take into account the financial, technical and cultural environment in order to integrate innovation into a competitive market.
How to innovate?
Launching into innovation without a robust R&D structure is relatively risky, with a chance of success close to zero. Indeed, the path to innovation can be relatively long, costly and uncertain. If you do not feel able to do it alone, it is therefore possible to acquire this know-how by another entity through a technology transfer. CDMOs have the necessary structure, state-of-the-art equipment and competent personnel to meet your need for innovation. Then call on them!