Squeeze More Innovation Out of Your R&D Dollars

You can't outgrow your competitors unless you out-innovate them. But during times of R&D belt-tightening, you have to squeeze more innovation out of every dollar invested. One way to do this is to launch low-cost, under-the-radar experiments. These help you gauge an idea's potential commercial value and explore its ramifications -- while avoiding expensive risk-taking.

For example, Shell Chemicals talked a major U.K. supermarket chain into letting it install prototype laundry-detergent dispensers at one location. U.K. customers liked being able to reuse their containers, and store managers appreciated saving shelf space. But two additional experiments uncovered problems--and saved Shell from the disaster that would have accompanied an initial large-scale launch.

By washingtonpost.com Editor  |  October 14, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Management Tip of the Day
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