Research and development Gallo Images/Getty Images

A Better Way from ‘R’ to ‘D’

When people talk about nurturing innovation, they typically focus on government funding for basic research, expanding access to higher education, building tech hubs and incubators, and so on. But a crucial element of innovation is often absent from these discussions: the final product.

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON – When business leaders get together to talk about innovating their industries, they typically focus on initiatives like improving government funding for basic research, or building technology hubs and incubators. But a crucial element of “innovation” is often absent from these discussions: the final products.

That’s no oversight. On the contrary, the lack of product-focused discussion is symptomatic of a far more serious problem facing businesses of all sizes in nearly every industry. Simply put, product development takes a back seat in innovation strategy because the financial link between ideation and commercialization is broken.

For economies to prosper, good ideas need a nudge getting to market. Innovative products are, after all, what makes life healthier, more efficient, and more fun. But there’s ample evidence to suggest that development – the “D” in R&D – has not kept pace with the blistering speed of “R” – modern-day research.

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