Investments in research and development are important for companies, and even more so for technology-based companies.
Society is increasingly demanding, intelligent and committed to sustainability and the environment and, as a consequence, demands that companies offer products and services that, in order to integrate these premises, must necessarily be innovative.
This applies to all sectors, where developments are accelerating, and to all companies, whether they are margin-based, volume-based or a mix of both.
The amount to be invested in R&D&I must be even greater in those companies that want to base their growth on the margin, as they must present differentiated products to this ultra-demanding society, with high added value, committed to the environment, and in record time. These investments allow companies to be flexible and able to continuously evolve their products and services to adapt to frequent changes in demand.
But, how much to invest? It is assumed that investment should be high in those companies based on research and development, and at which the return on investment of each product developed could be estimated and quantified, for example, a drug resulting from discoveries in the laboratories of a pharmaceutical company. This exercise is not so easy in many other companies, which, although they define themselves as technological because of their areas of activity, many of their products are not the result of their internal research, but of their suppliers. At these companies, which are not based on in-house research, the qualitative part must be taken into account, which is difficult to estimate in numbers, where the positioning and brand image that can be generated by a pilot R&D&I project can be key to contributing
to margin growth, developing a new service or product, or even adding a new business area, diversifying the company, making it more resilient to continuous change and improving its chances of survival in an increasingly competitive market.
Estimating the qualitative value and the quantitative part to be capitalised in the future by commercial businesses as a consequence of R&D investment is extremely complex and uncertain, as success is not assured, and the return is long term. As a result, companies are often too conservative or reluctant to invest in R&D&i.
And, what to invest in? Depending on whether a company’s foundations are R&D or not, it must invest to a greater or lesser extent in materials, but there is no doubt that, in both types of tech-based companies, the key investment is in the people with the talent to create and transfer knowledge within the organisation. This knowledge is acquired through complex R&D&i projects, which only highly qualified professionals are capable of leading.
There is clearly a close relationship between the image of companies and the increase in their investment in R&D, and while, years ago, investment in innovation and development was something extraordinary with which they sought to improve and strengthen their position in the market, today it is essential to remain competitive. Those organisations that manage to keep a constant growth rhythm are those that adapt to change, anticipate the future and are prepared for each new challenge that comes their way. They are organisations that do not improvise because they are currently launching the ideas that germinated years ago in their research.