Why are there so many unsuccessfull products ? Why research center is always the nations of engineers ? Why board of companies are afraid of investing in research ? Why is there a gap between research and marketing teams ? Why every companies are not a Nintendo or an Apple ?
The research center is an island whose innovative projects try to reach the coast of the company !
I have been looking for the right vision, which illustrates exactly the position of a research center within a company. The best which came to my mind is the image of an island (the research department) separated from the continent (the company) by an ocean. And the everyday question is : how to cross the ocean ?
Because research department is the nation of engineers, all what is produced here is about technology, technological effiiciency and products improvments. Not breakthrough innovations. Face to them, they need to convince primary the marketing headquarter and finally the board of directors. But there is a wider gap to jump over : the cultural gap. Engineers threw projects-in-a-bottle in the ocean and pray for it to reach the coast. Unfortunately, it works few. Thus they need a mediator to turn innovative technologies into innovative products (and to increase the return on investments of the research).
Innovation-by-Design approach is the ship that carries innovative projects between research and marketing !
Research island should find other inhabitants : The Designers ! I am not talking here of designers or people who consider design approach as an exclusive job of style, but those who have understood that design can create vision.
During the cross, Designers will try to complete the vision of the engineers. They will study sociological evolutions, market trends, competitors positions to find the best application to promote. This more general vision will be the passport to let the guards of the continent to let them enter (and to develop the project).