The department that arises curiosity; R&D… What’s happening in there?

Author: Cengizhan Bilgin / Anadolu Isuzu R&D Chief

R&D has become a department which is among the must have departments for companies. I have given many years of service for R&D and wanted to prepare an article on this subject for the blog of our Group. I will be able to share my experiences on my field, which is both wondered about and the importance of which continues to increase.

R&D is a place where defining processes, setting targets, determining KPIs, and evaluating performances are difficult…

I believe that the drawing on the left expresses the situation R&D departments find themselves in extremely well. Consider that the situation on the left appears when everything is requested at the same time… “There is nothing like it!” In actual fact, I think this uncertainty makes R&D an even more exciting field of work.

On the other hand, the images below reflect the situation in which a member of an R&D team finds himself or herself in, well. I wanted you to see the realities inside your brain, in case you too, one day, want to design.

R&D personnel are people who sometimes chase a dream, seek the best answers to questions which have never been asked before and try to transform uncertainties into realities.

Companies have various different focal points or trends, such as production and sales. These trends or focuses determine the departments which form the backbone of companies. When you look at the organisational structure of these types of companies, you will be able to see similarities. The jargons, the principles, manner in which work is performed, rules, the absolute musts, the processes and even the forms are similar. However, in R&D, the way each person carries out a certain task may be different. The “thing” called R&D, asks that the established systems, specific processes, jargons, and indeed the rules which have been in existence for years, and which we have referred to above, are questioned and disposed of with concepts such as growing with R&D, developing with R&D, innovating and going beyond the ordinary, to spite the approach of “don’t come up with something new”.

Actually, I could not decide what to write instead of “thing”. A community? A way of thinking? A team? Attempting to define this “thing” — that is R&D — is maybe even against its very nature. Trying to place R&D within a particular framework may even mean that it ceases to be R&D. R&D takes lessons from yesterday, plans today, dreams about tomorrow, thinks, brainstorms and shapes the future. Doing away with the rules and breaking the routine is a matter of course for R&D — and as a result it may be incomprehensible in this respect.

Just as R&D needs to fly over ideas, its feet need to be on the ground as well. Each customer has different expectations. It does not have just one customer. Almost everyone is its customer. All of these characteristics separate R&D department from the other departments, or to put it in a better way, we can say it integrates with all the other departments.

While you may think you are doing the best, invention of another company may make your studies valueless. While you become happy, saying you have found something new and apply for a patent you might find tons of people who have already patented this in the world before you.. Just as you think you are directing technology, a different technology may appear, and the work you have done may become worthless in just one moment.

Today, we see that the number of R&D departments in our country is increasing. The teams of the R&D departments are growing at pace. It is difficult to understand this when you first look. What do 100, 500, 1000 people do in these ‘so-called’ R&D departments? At the time we had difficulty understanding this statement too: “Did you know that in Europe at X company there is a team responsible just to design a door of the vehicle Here, one person does that on his own.” However, that approach has now changed in our country too. We need to specialise, focus, grow and develop in order to do the work we do better.

I would like to say, with pride, that Anadolu Isuzu R&D Centre is one of the R&D centres which has grown at a significant level and put its name to great successes in the recent years. According to Ranking, conducted by Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology, Anadolu Isuzu R&D Centre, which employs more than 100 engineers, designers and experts, was 2nd and 3rd in the automotive sector in the years 2012 and 2013 respectively. It does not only develop products, but with the patents it obtains and the articles it publishes, it contributes to the accumulation of knowledge, both for itself and the academia. R&D expenditures increase over time, and the products and services it has designed gain recognition on a global scale. The “Most Comfortable and Most Ergonomic Vehicle Award”, which we won at the ECW competition, which we took part in recently, shows us that we are on the right track and this motivates us. We are growing with new investment, and we are speeding up our work with our new R&D Centre building. As I have also attempted to express in the previous paragraphs, we are trying to shape the future.

In the era in which we live, the R&D function is one that companies need to have. If you want to exist in the future, you must keep pace with change, and if you want to come to the fore amongst your competitors, you must create added value. You need to research and develop incessantly for this added value you are going to create. Whether you want to call it innovation management or product development, you need to take a step to place new rules or keep pace with change in a world full of uncertainties and competition.

We are thinking of the future, monitoring developments and continuing to work at the highest of speeds in order to carry our country, Anadolu Group and our company further forward among the competition, and to create value for all of our stakeholders. Don’t get confused of above picture, Its all our curiosity and dreams keep us together in R&D…