Building an amazing Research & Development framework in your organisation

Nowadays, almost all organisations around the world have R&D teams. But the question boils down to these facts:

How many of them are effective?
How many of them are seen just as a cost to the company?
How many of them truly innovate and contribute to research & development?

Well, you already know the answers for these questions.

What I am going to share in this blog is how to build a truly amazing research and development framework in your organisation (whatever sector it might be in).

Research & Development is not supposed to be a department, It is a Framework

Don’t have separate departments to enable Research & Development in your organisation, rather create a framework where every individual in your organisation has to do contribute towards R&D.

Ideas and the power to execute it do not often come from one single department. You must first understand and believe that every single person in your organisation is capable of something better than what they are, put your trust on them, enable them and create enough room for them to think and innovate. You will be surprised to see the results.

By creating a framework, I mean that you have to give them necessary support, time, encouragement, remove distractions where possible to free thinking and execution and most importantly, orchestrate the collaborative effort towards R&D. If a person does not research or learn anything on a day to day basis, he/she is as good as dead.

Don’t run behind hype, rather run behind pressing problems

People in the R&D field have a tendency to do something just because the tech is new, shiny and fancy. Just doing R&D does not matter. What matters is that you have to do R&D to solve problems either you, your peers or customers face. This gives a sense of purpose behind every activity.

Proof Of Concept or Production?

Most of the R&D activities you might see in almost every organisation is just a POC piece where the emphasis is to prove that you can do something fancy, or do something which you can use to please prospects during demo sessions. But you have to understand one important thing….

Creators feel fulfilled only when their creations are put to use by people.

True creators are not looking for praise. They are rather looking for regular feedback, be it positive or negative.

Open vs Closed

Depending on the use case, the result of your R&D activities can either be open or closed. But, where possible try to support Open Research since that is where you get a huge collaborative participation and support from the community. Your results get battle tested, and you make your creations open to a lot of suggestions and reviews which is very good to attain a maturity for what you do.

Stop spoon-feeding and tutoring

By spoon-feeding or tutoring, you are restricting a person’s ability to learn. Learning should come through self interest, and if they really do have interest, they would make sure that they learn and execute it themselves. You should be a mentor and an enabler rather than a tutor.

If they don’t have interest in what they do, it is pointless asking them to do what they don’t like. The results of such work would always be disastrous.

Less managers, more thinkers and doers

To enable a good R&D atmosphere, you should limit the number of managers. You rather need more thinkers and doers. You don’t have to manage such people. If they really have interest, they will discipline and manage themselves.

Free and Open Communication

The more people interact with each other, the more ideas get discovered. You should enable free and open communication in your organisation where they are not bound by any reservations be it designation, or whoever they are.

Hold meetups, discussions, and what not and make sure that there is a continuous stream of communication across all the people.

Enthusiasm, Competition and Agility

If you want the right ambience, atmosphere and people around, you have to step up things to the next level. You have to boost enthusiasm of people around by providing them encouragement and support, raise the competition standards and make sure there is something which everyone has to work for to achieve, say conducting hackathons. Occasionally, you can also fuel enthusiasm among people by sponsoring them to conferences and events.

It is also important to keep the agility in mind. You have to make sure that you get things done quick by removing unnecessary dependency between teams/individuals.

Diversity

The more the diversity in your organisation, the more different are the opinions and thought process, the more inputs you get, the more better it is for your organisation’s development.

Diversity need not be just diversity in terms of location or culture. Its also about diversity of thought and opinion.

The Critical Point

At some point of time, R&D teams would attain a state where they feel like they don’t know what to do next. All you have to do is, close your eyes and think about the problems you or anyone around you had faced in the past week, jot it down in order of the severity of the problem, and start solving them.

Your organisation need not spend so much money to do R&D, what you need to rather do is spend quality time thinking and doing the right stuff at the right time in the right way!

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