R&D teams are a significant element in building a business that can innovate and compete in today’s modern economy. Companies that push the technological frontier are those best equipped to survive in the coming years and decades.
But what does it take to actually build an R&D team that gets things done? Firms are often wary of investing large sums of money into unproven technologies or individuals. What’s more, projects often come up short, not providing the results that people had hoped for.
In this post, we take a look at how to build a research and development team from the ground up. Try the following:
Create An Overarching Vision
R&D work is often trial and error. When you are pushing the frontiers of knowledge, there are no guarantees. Even so, team members need a vision. They need to understand what they are trying to achieve. The more they keep their eyes fixed on the goal, the more likely they are to develop helpful solutions.
What might an overarching vision look like? Well, suppose that the R&D firm is working on new battery technologies. They could, for instance, have the goal of creating a new battery technology that works better than the current state-of-the-art.
Define Goals And Objectives
The next step is to define various goals and objectives that you expect the team to meet. These need to be specific and time-bound. For instance, when will you develop this new battery technology. How long, approximately, do you think that it will take?
Create The Right Environment
You’ll also need a high-quality lab in which to do research. However, you may not have the skills necessary in your organization to create one. If you are a startup, you might have access to an incubator, but spaces in these organizations are rare.
Firms, such as LOC Scientific, recommend working with partners. The idea is to pair with a company that has experience building labs in your industry so that your team can get the tools it needs to thrive.
Experiment, But Also Focus
Once you have your goals written down and a lab set up, you’ll need to strike a balance between experimentation and focus. Experimentation is necessary because it helps your team discover the unexpected. However, focus is also essential. You need to ensure that the team remains on track and doesn’t go down a blind alley.
Naturally, to get this balance right, you’ll need expertise. As a general rule of thumb, only engage in projects that will add value to your business. Side projects might appear interesting, but unless you can sell them or use them to compete with your rivals, they aren’t much use.
Give Your R&D Team Independence
Lastly, stifling an R&D team doesn’t produce the best results. Instead, you want to ensure that individuals have opportunities for professional growth. Sometimes, that will mean making mistakes, but that’s okay. It’s all a part of the continuous learning process and getting new ideas off the ground.