The R&D business function is one of the most significant and pivotal departments in an organization, as it allows organizations to keep up with ever-changing technological innovations. Imagine a company without an R&D function. There is a need to document a lot of complex processes involved in the multifaceted R&D approach.
Frameworks and workflows are two of the most critical elements in R&D workflows, as they help in formulating innovation and business strategy and allow researchers to explore related functional domains. Here’s a comprehensive, not exhaustive, list of R&D approaches that are assisting the department in mapping their goals, managing bulky databases, and collaborating with other business functions.
1. Failures Models and Effect Analysis (FMEA)
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is one of the systematic, proactive R&D approaches for evaluating a process to identify where and how it might fail and to assess the relative impact of different failures in order to identify the parts of the process that are most in need of change. The FMEA model allows researchers to analyze the process steps, failure mode, and cause and effects of the failure.
2. Quality Function Deployment (QFD) and House of Quality (HoQ)
Quality Function Deployment (QFD) and House of Quality (HOQ) are structured R&D approaches for defining customer requirements and translating design specifications or product control characteristics into a planning matrix. QFD allows the charting of customer wants and technical how-tos, which results in a better understanding of design relationships.
The approach helps in having a system in place for documenting research-based information and enables people to think together, increasing the overall productivity of the R&D function.
Read More about it here.
3. Road mapping
Road mapping is the strategic R&D approach of determining the actions, steps, and resources needed to take the initiative from vision to reality. It enables cross-functional dialogue, consensus building, and communication, which in turn drive forward change through planning-oriented platforms.
More can be read about the road mapping and various tools on this Gartner blog
4. Scenario Planning
Scenario planning involves identifying a specific set of uncertainties, different “realities” of what might happen in the future of your business. It can help Research and Development (R&D) organizations identify future uncertainties, test the resilience of the existing or proposed R&D portfolio, and guide near- and long-term portfolio management decisions.
It is taking into account the possible known scenarios.
More resources to know about the scenario planning tool:
5. Stage-Gate Model
A Stage-Gate Model, also known as the phase-gate process, is a project management R&D approach in which an initiative or project is divided into distinct stages or phases, separated by decision points. A manager, steering committee, or other stakeholder decides the continuation at each gate.
The method provides a structured approach to new product development. This takes into consideration stages like ideation, development, testing, and the launch of a product.
This method is beneficial as it allows:
- A structured approach to product development
- Collaboration between cross-functional teams
- Mitigate potential errors and loopholes in the project or product development cycle.
More information about this model can be read here.
6. TRIZ Model
TRIZ is the Russian acronym for the theory of inventive problem-solving. In essence, the main ideology behind TRIZ is that there exist problems and solutions that are repeated across industries. TRIZ, also known as the theory of inventive problem solving, is a technique that fosters invention for project teams that have become stuck while trying to solve a business challenge. It provides data on similar past projects that can help teams find a new path forward.
Fundamentally, it is a problem-solving tool that simulates creativity. It encourages innovators to look for inspiration in the solutions to past problems or similar problems in parallel domains.
These models and R&D approaches assist the R&D professionals in taking strategically informed decisions through cross-functional data sharing, detailed analysis, and interactive visualization. Though these models help streamline R&D processes and allow users to structure their research in the right direction, it is sometimes difficult to identify the right models.
XLSCOUT, an AI-based intelligence visualization tool, helps in structuring the patent database. It provides interactive visualizations that act as a reference point for most of these models. The tool provides a number of technologically advanced solutions that make patent searches and other IP workflows more efficient. You can easily integrate these with existing systems to further streamline the processes.