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See how Xinova partners with PepsiCo and Innit to launch the new Seattle restaurant tech startup, SousZen, that aims to digitize ‘back of house’.

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5 Questions for R&D | Xinova

5 questions to ask at the beginning of your R&D project 


Have you asked the right question? 

Elon Musk has mentionedThe 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.  

Are you seeking invention or engineering? 

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? 

How big is your innovation network and how broad is their perspective? 

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. 

Does your team have the tools and support to take risks needed to develop long-term 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. 

How can we help? 

At Xinova, we think beyond the traditional open innovation model by 

  • Helping define your problem so it can be solved We push you to ask the right questions.  Our experts, located all over the world, help frame problems in a new way, having no bias toward current approaches. 
  • Cultivating strong solutions We gather solutions from our global network of over 10,000 inventors with diverse backgrounds and filter them so your team can focus on the most promising and creative solutions.  You get a higher selection rate. 
  • Developing prototypes.  We know an idea is just the beginning.  We share risk and manage a pipeline of early-stage development projects with a team dedicated to de-risking new ideas to help you find the next transformative solution faster. 

Matt Ferguson | XinovaBy Matt Ferguson 

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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