Had a chance to engage in a little R&D work this past month. More R than D, even. Something I haven’t had the luxury of doing in quite a spell. Came up with an idea over the holiday break, a new architecture for solving a key challenge of one of our customer’s. Did some concept drawing, bounced the idea off the brain trust, and pulled together a skunkworks project to test this out. Too early to tell if this will really change the game for our customer, but early tests are yielding positive results. We’re working on a patent application to nail down the IP, and should have some more definitive results in a few weeks.
So one of the senior technical folks at this customer, a top shelf R&D type, cornered me and asked, “What do you expect to get from this invention? Better performance, higher accuracy, BOM (= Bill of Materials) cost reductions, what?”
I thought for a second and answered, no, none of those really were drivers although there may well be some performance enhancements. The BOM cost will likely stay about the same, with puts equaling takes. But the real benefits will be in terms of manufacturability: this R&D project was really about making their product easier–much easier I hope–to build.
Productization R&D. I like the sound of that.