Research and Development have always been a hot topic. But as the global economy gets back on its feet after the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, R&D will probably realize a more significant role to allow companies to stay competitive. Data shows that R&D efforts in all categories grew from USD 555 billion in 1996 and by 2018 had reached $2.23 trillion.
While large companies and government programs drive a large portion of R&D, it is still the essential component of most new businesses. Further, entrepreneurs often find that the lion’s share of their expenditures in these critical first years is devoted to R&D for new products, services, and offerings.
Finding the Right R&D Tools
R&D is difficult enough when one considers just the iteration aspects. However, complex products and services can layer on extensive research, collaboration needs, and project management requirements. Add to that the data organization and analysis needed to conduct efficient R&D programs that deliver results, and the load can seem overwhelming.
Today, entrepreneurs and businesses conducting R&D have access to tools unavailable to their counterparts in the past. These tools are centered around data and analysis and help keep R&D projects moving swiftly and stay organized. Here are five online research tools everyone in the R&D industry should be using.
1. Data Elixir – Today’s physical world relies on data, lots of data. That data is used to analyze and suggest directions. Whether developing software or creating a digital twin of a physical object to simulate performance, Data Elixir provides curated content and articles and information on where and how data is being used across various industries and applications. These insights can help inform R&D decisions, suggest pathways to leverage data for R&D, and potentially point to new value-added services not thought of before.
2. DeepDyve – Depending on the product or service being developed, a new business may need to reference scholarly research. The problem for these small companies is that many of these reports are expensive, ranging anywhere from a few dollars to several thousands of dollars for their insights. DeepDyve’s model allows access to these works on a timed, free basis or a rented basis. This means less money on an already expensive R&D project as the business can decide which reports make sense to buy without rolling the dice on an abstract.
3. ReportLinker – For many R&D initiatives, market insights are as critical as scholarly work. Understanding the trends within a market year over year or for materials and components within that industry can help inform decisions for R&D. ReportLinker is an affordable subscription with a customizable profile page that allows users to select the industry and subject relevant to them. Having year over year, geographical, costed, and volume-driven information can help entrepreneurs determine their market or niche with more confidence.
4. Open Data Institute – As more and more of the world’s businesses migrate to the cloud and implement Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) technology, data management and best practices for data handling become more critical. The Open Data Institute (ODI) is a non-profit organization that brings companies together to develop the best open-source data management practices available for the benefit of R&D. ODI offers tools, training, seminars and are focused on building a worldwide data ecosystem capable of handling advanced research while standardizing and delivering value.
5. Project Management Software – Sometimes, even the smallest companies can have extraordinarily complex products and an equally complex R&D program. And that complexity impacts R&D deliverables and cost. Managing an R&D project can no longer be done with pads, spreadsheets, and calculators. To keep projects on track and budget, entrepreneurs and small business leaders should utilize project management software. Basic features such as Gantt Charts, budget management, collaboration and communication tools, and other features will allow team members and leaders to remain keenly aware of where the project is, what costs are being expended, and what tasks are due. There are hundreds of project management software programs designed to help R&D teams stay on track.
Whether your R&D program is complex or straightforward, other tools and resources can help. The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) and Georgian College can offer expertise in structuring and defining R&D programs. With faculty, staff, and student participation, companies can help define the project, set clear and achievable goals, and realize results faster, cost-effective way. This blend of business, academic knowledge, and student hands-on experience allow new businesses and entrepreneurs access to resources and knowledge bases to help their development at a critical point of growth. To find out how we can help you use all the tools available for your business, contact us today.