What about these alternate views of industrial R&D?

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Joined: 01/20/2010

Instead of pursuing a blockbuster+ approach or worrying about discontinuous discovery+, consider the following approaches:

  1. The funders to know everything about the R&D pursuit so they just tell folks what science to do. I line up the work, it gets executed, and with just a minimal amount of trial & error+, I get to a successful R&D product. I have no need to engage the passions of others, they get a paycheck. This approach is seen, for example, in R&D for copycat products, new R&D products based on established science, or product extensions.
  2. Discard the blockbuster approach, and concentrate on an expertise in launching many sub-blockbusters. Become the best at delivering B-movies. This of course contradicts the chosen definition for World Class R&D. This is an attractive alternative for those who believe that progress in science comes in small increments, so the best strategy is to build small incremental improvements in new product offerings, cannibalizing the sales of existing products (both ours and theirs).
  3. Corollary to 2: Become less expensive. We can afford to pursue sub-blockbusters because we've developed an R&D model that is very low cost.
  4. Take a consolidation approach, consolidating technology much like was done by the industry leaders in the software industry. Buy up competing technologies and move consumers to a single standard where you happen to have a market lead. See the article on Discontinuous Innovation for more ideas that do not require a discontinuous approach.
  5. Become more agile. Recognize the very high commercial failure rates for innovative basic science. So we instead build a team that can jump on any science that survives the first few rounds of disconfirming evidence+. We are 'agile' in that we can take a science that is now more than merely interesting, and push it to market faster than any of our competitors.
  6. Build a multi-faceted approach that blends the blockbuster approach of World Class R&D with one or more of the above approaches. See Probe & Learn for an approach.