BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Companies are expanding their commitment to the research and development of products over the next two years despite the challenges that come with economic recovery, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.
In the study called, Closing the Gap: How Companies Achieve Smarter New Product Development and Make Better Decisions with Technology, executives from around the world say that gains in their business will come from increasing efficiency, deploying information technology (IT) to help identify promising ideas, and tracking and evaluating R&D projects. They are also focused on finding new streams of ideas from partners, suppliers, and others.
“As more manufacturing moves to emerging markets and further away from headquarters, companies are finding that research and development is no longer an exclusive domain for engineers in lab coats,” said Alex Clemente, Managing Director of HBR Analytic Services and International Sponsorships. “With a trend toward ‘open innovation’ – not only are sales, marketing, finance, and operations now collaborating with R&D – so are partners, suppliers, customers, and competitors.”
The survey found:
- Half of the companies surveyed said increasing the rate of innovation is a top priority in 2011.
- IT is a key enabler of new product development processes and outcomes.
- Customer suggestions are the most important source of new product ideas.
New product development is a team sport. More than half of the
companies said marketing,
operations, sales, and finance work with the R&D department.
- Fifty-five percent said partners are an important source of ideas and innovation support.
- Forty-three percent said intellectual property protection is a challenge in working with external organizations.
The survey also found that with the help of information technology like product lifecycle management (PLM) – some companies have been able to better manage complexity. They use tools to help executives track the ideation process, monitor progress, identify laggard projects, and facilitate collaboration. As a result, these organizations have better new product development processes and outcomes.
According to Clemente, “Successful product development will increasingly be defined by using these IT tools, like PLM in a smarter, more collaborative way — across geographies, across multiple partners, and across different disciplines.”
About Harvard Business Review Analytic Services
Harvard Business Review Analytic Services is an independent sponsored research unit within Harvard Business Review Group, which conducts research and comparative analysis and turns findings into timely business and management ideas. (I’m not crazy about this sentence as a way to define what they do – maybe it’s something we can work on w/Alex. Fine for now.) HBR Analytic Services has been recognized for its 2009 “Face-to-Face” research report, sponsored by British Airways, as a finalist in the 2010 M&M Awards in the category of “Best Contribution to a Media Campaign by a Media Owner.” Research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services has appeared in The New York Times, Economist.com, USA Today, the Times of London, and other major media.
About Harvard Business Review
Harvard Business Review is the leading destination for smart management thinking. Through its flagship magazine, 11 translated licensed editions, books from Harvard Business Review Press, and digital content and tools published on www.hbr.org, Harvard Business Review provides professionals the world over with rigorous insights and best practices to lead themselves and their organizations more effectively and to make a positive impact.