Is your innovation R&D intensive or customer intensive?

R&D Innovation vs Customer Innovation - StratoServeR&D Intensive innovation: It was a bio-technology strategy executive who explained when asked why it is hard to produce “made in the garage” innovations in biotechnology. The problem is that in biotechnology and pharmaceutical research you need labs, teams and a lot of money and time to come up with a blockbuster cure. You cannot do it alone.

It costs time and money, early in the process,  as depicted in the graph alongside. R&D and particularly R&D in basic sciences might take years to come to engineering and convert to something practical. This is the reason that a lot of these types of fundamental work starts at universities.  The stringent academic review process delays things, but you can reasonably sure that when ideas are published in major academic journals- you can actually start developing something applied based on those ideas. This holds true for the social sciences as well as one sees in the work of Malcolm Gladwell, who is able to take some core ideas from the social sciences and convert them into an applied, usable format via popular books. The entrepreneurial skill here is to be able to take an abstract- frequently academic idea  and convert it into a usable, practical insight that can be commercialized if there are customers willing to pay for that usable idea or product.  This is the case of a solution looking for a problem.

Customer intensive innovation: Contrast R&D intensive type of innovations with the “Shark-Tank” kind of pitches that are primarily based out of existing technology i.e. there is no new molecule being developed. In this category the entrepreneur observes a problem, thinks that he or she might have a solution and sets about developing that solution. The solution is developed with available technologies of the day because timing is of the essence as the market problem may disappear or change, competitors may emerge etc. Here the entrepreneurial skill is to understand the customers problem in as much detail as possible and make early changes in the solution without spending too much at the back end of the new product development process. Thus it is important to do concept testing carefully and also do product use testing or alpha testing in software so that most problems in the solution to the customers problem is ironed out early in the process of innovation. Most of the cost happens later at the launch and market stage where huge expenses on advertising and sales force are called for as depicted in the graph with this post. Here the problem is in search of a solution.

And both types of innovation have started using digital methods throughout the process from recruiting patients for clinical trials to introducing the new product through special deals online. About StratoServe Digital Marketing Services.

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