Effective research and development (R&D) could be the lifeblood of your company, adding value to your business and enabling you to grow and sustain your market share. However, whether you’re developing new products, services or processes, it can be hard to master R&D. To help ensure your company is getting this right, here are three things you should know.
Effective data management is key
The R&D process can generate vast amounts of data, and this means you must have effective systems in place to capture, organise, share and exploit this information. Any flaws in your system can result in important data being lost, work being duplicated, unnecessary holdups and confusion and misunderstandings between individuals and teams. Fortunately, it’s now straightforward to access software that makes information management easy. For example, the E‑WorkBook platform of solutions from R&D software specialist IDBS offers a searchable and secure environment for managing data and it is designed to make it easier to share information with both internal and external stakeholders.
An effective and efficient information management system will serve as the backbone of your entire R&D process, so this is not an issue you can afford to ignore.
You must have clearly defined objectives
Without well-defined objectives and a clear timeframe, you may find that your R&D lacks direction and is inefficient. This means that at the outset of projects, it is crucial that you set out exactly what you want to achieve, when you need to reach your goals and how you will do this. Creating a detailed plan at the very beginning of the R&D process will help you to allocate resources effectively and minimise any waste.
Patents may be necessary to protect your IP
Depending on the nature of your projects, you might need to take careful steps to protect your intellectual property (IP). If you let information get into the wrong hands, you could be left counting the cost. As well as ensuring you have secure data management systems in place, you may require trademarks, registered designs or patents. Bear in mind that it can take some time for these applications to be approved. In the case of patents, an application can take as long as five years to come through. Be sure to keep your IP secret until it’s been registered in the appropriate ways, and if you have to discuss your ideas with third parties, use a non-disclosure agreement.
There’s no denying that the R&D process can be hugely challenging, but by bearing advice like this in mind, you stand a better chance of achieving your goals.