Innovation without Blowing Your R&D Budget

Speaking to Fortune, the late Steve Jobs stated that the degree of innovation does not rely on the amount of R&D dollars an organization has.

Innovation without blowing R&D budgetFor many companies, any problem is countered by throwing money at it. However, Jobs believed that creativity and genuine genius should be enough to win over money when coming up with an innovation. Indeed, cost reduction is not always an easy task. As such, it is vital to incorporate market surveys and employee participation whenever innovation is required. A company may choose to source an idea from the industry and engage employees in altering the design and producing a new product at the lowest cost possible. Regardless of the industry or the budget allocated anyone can be able to innovate without blowing the R&D budget. This can be achieved in a number of ways.

One may choose the Exploratory vs. Exploitative approaches when designing a big idea. When coming up with a new idea, companies may choose to source the idea form an existing source or work with what they have. According to the explanatory approach, innovation becomes necessary when the ideas in an organization no longer work. Unfortunately, this approach is as costly as it is unsuccessful. On the other hand, the exploitative approach entails analyzing ideas that are already present in order to come up with something new or better. This is evident in companies such as Cisco, which rotate between the two methods in order to remain within the budget and achieve the desired goals. While each of these approaches tends to work differently, only a mix of the two tend to produce the best outcome.

Keeping up with technology may be effective and cost effective when an organization chooses to utilize technology that already exists. However, this does not mean copying someone else’s work. However, the existing platforms may be used as inspirational ideas to be used to design new technologies. Innovative ideas for technology may be from observing pending patents to observing early adopters. In order to incorporate old ideas into the new ones, employee involvement is vital. Allowing employees to spend 20% of their company time engaging in projects outside their daily operations can yield success without necessarily incurring further cost. It is also vital to determine the thoughts of consumers through focus groups, surveys, polls, and buying trends. This may help reduce the chances of designing a product with a high likelihood of failing.