Creativity and Innovation

It would be a very poor R&D organisation that was not both creative and innovative. That said, creativity and innovation are easily stifled or destroyed even in formerly effective groups. Like tender plants they only flourish in a suitable environment and are in need of constant nourishment, as is discussed in Section B. There are many actions that a Manager can take to help nurture the process of creativity and innovation and create the right climate in which chemists and other scientists can operate. To assist in this process the Manager needs to understand the characteristics of creative individuals and also the various pathways from creativity to innovative products or processes. A description of these and the techniques and aids involved forms the body of the first part of this Section.

The output from core R&D work is novel information, or intellectual property, as it is known. Having spent a great deal of time and money generating this intellectual property it is essential that it be protected against utilisation by a commercial competitor. This protection is commonly achieved by the filing of a patent. The timing of this activity, and the further development work required to support and strengthen the protection, is very important. Sometimes it is not possible, or appropriate to obtain patent protection for the results of R&D work. Companies can still exploit this sort of information, called "know-how", commercially. Prime examples of commercially valuable "know how" are the fine details in the manufacturing processes for chemicals. The protection of "know how" is much more difficult and secrecy is the only method. Additionally, such knowledge is often the basis for future work, it therefore needs to be properly recorded and safely filed.

The exploitation ofintellectual property has to be considered early in the R&D cycle. The choice of the exploitation pathway materially affects the scale and type of R&D resource that will be needed. For instance, an opportunity may be further developed in house; by joint venture if one or more partner is needed; or by licensing the technology if it is outside the company's area of expertise.

The last few years have seen a much greater emphasis on the concept of the knowledge-based company. Knowledge is seen as the asset of a company and the R&D function as an important and essential component. The need to manage this knowledge for the benefit of the organisation has lead to the discipline of knowledge management and the requirements for this will be discussed in the final part of this Section.

148 | Section C Creativity and Innovation Overview

Creativity represents the birth of ideas, innovation the process by which those ideas reach fruition. Everybody can contribute in some way to the creative process. Creative thinking and the generation of ideas need to be stimulated at both the individual and company level. Creative scientists are not identical; they come in all shapes and sizes. Innovation involves idea generation, translation to practice and commercialisation. Exploitation of the unexpected is a difficult activity but one which has the potential for high rewards. All staff can develop some kills in creativity by thinking laterally and by using specific techniques for idea generation. Free ranging, non-analytical techniques are the most successful. Select rather than reject the ideas generated. Intellectual property arising from R&D is an important part of a company's knowledge asset and needs protection. Develop IP in house, joint venture, license or file for the future. Managing knowledge efficiently and innovatively is a requirement in a knowledge-based economy. The tacit knowledge of one individual needs to become the explicit knowledge of all.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment