Elon Musk has mentioned The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as one of his favorite reads, claiming it taught him that “the question is harder than the answer. When we ask questions, they come along with our biases. You should really ask, ‘Is this the right question?’ And that’s hard to figure out.” (1)
R&D teams excel at problem solving, but problem framing – asking the right question – is hard. With experience comes knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, but it’s difficult not to also develop biases that may be limiting. Researchers are incentivized to “know” what “can’t” work to avoid making expensive mistakes.
Radical solutions can be hard to develop internally, but ultimately they change the world. Are you prepared to leap beyond incremental changes, to invent the future?
There is no substitute for dedicated R&D and having teams live and breathe your technology, but scale comes with cost. It’s not practical to have materials, chemistry, biology, software, and electronics expertise all on the same team, but without it you are missing out on potential solutions.
Inventing a long term solution can be harder than engineering an improvement. It requires organizational support for innovative thinking and tolerance for risk and failure to weather enough failed ideas to find one that turns out to be transformative.
At Xinova, we think beyond the traditional open innovation model by
Xinova | Vice President, Innovation Group
As part of our invention sourcing team, Matt Ferguson recruits and supports inventors in our network. Matt help’s our inventors understand our partners’ challenges so they can deliver attractive solutions.
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