Amid the excitement and athleticism of the Olympics, we have uncovered another interesting display of global competition. And although it may not be as entertaining, the ramifications are more far-reaching. Specifically, the Global Innovation Index evaluates each country’s level of innovation over the past year, as judged by each country’s knowledge, technology and creative outputs. It was reported by the CEO of Eli Lily in a Forbes post about America’s declining ranking last month.
Regardless of which country is the most innovative, businesses all over the world are plagued by an “Insight Deficit” within their R&D departments. This is because engineers and developers generally don’t have access to the full breadth of information necessary to make informed decisions—product data, competitive insight, customer surveys and more. As a result, products take longer to get to market, production requires more re-dos, and competition may often seem one step ahead. Without easy assimilation of relevant and actionable insights, organizations aren’t as nimble or flexible as they could be.
Having better and immediate insight into data across systems and departments helps companies improve agility in their innovation, and to innovate “incrementally,” that is, building on each incremental innovation. They can understand more about what has occurred before—and why—plus incorporate feedback from customers, internal review teams. They can adjust processes and perhaps swap in new materials to improve each cycle of development. Overall, having more insight into these facets allows R&D departments to better justify the investments they make.
Like those competing in London, innovation requires teamwork. And R&D teammates can’t work together if they don’t have the ability to access the collective knowledge available to them. Is your R&D department working as a team—or is your organization lacking insightful innovation?