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In 2013 the R&D spending grew to its higher level ever as recent study of the Booz & Company shows. Researchers surveyed the world’s 1,000 largest publicly listed corporate R&D spenders focusing on the digital enablers of the innovation process—how the most successful companies are, and aren’t, using digital tools and processes to enhance the innovation value chain. The biggest R&D spenders are concentrated in North America: Apple ($3.4 bln), Google ($6.8 bln), Amazon ($4.6 bln) are among the most innovative companies. The key finding of the study is that companies are using a mix of tried and true digital productivity enablers and newer market and customer insight enablers. The survey results show that productivity enablers, used primarily in the development phase of innovation, such as rapid prototyping and simulation tools (e.x. 3D-prining) have reached maturity; most are widely used and effective. In other phases, particularly the front end of the innovation process, companies are experimenting with new market and customer insight enablers that have transformative potential. But most tools aren’t widely used yet, and companies find their effectiveness varies wildly. Some of the most innovative and effective tools include:

  • Usage sensors are the cutting-edge but nascent tools that monitor engagement patterns
  • Customer immersion labs are emerging, high-potential way to simulate user experience
  • Collaborative environments and apps allow two or more participants to communicate, coordinate and collaborate to accomplish a shared objective. They are constructed from a range of computer and communications technologies, such as instant messaging, e-mail, chatrooms, discussion databases, mobile communicators, shared whiteboards, media spaces/cybercafes, and audio, video or web conferences, according to Ivey Business Journal.
  • 3D printing for rapid prototyping
  • Automated marketing platforms which consist of email marketing, website visitor tracking, and a central marketing database in one product, enabling multichannel data collection and storage, campaign development and execution, and ROI analysis and reporting, according to Search Engine Land.
  • Visualization and engagement tools are the analytical apps to explore and present various data

“There are many digital enablers out there. Productivity enablers have become must-haves in any innovator’s digital tool kit. More and more companies are starting to use newer market and customer insight enablers to create better and more inventive products. The right mix of tools will depend on a company’s industry, capabilities, and innovation model”, says Barry Jaruzelski, Senior Partner of Booz & Company as quoted in The 2013 Global Innovation 1000 Study. 1-650-274-0214