Seven Effective Practices to Follow in R&D

Dr. Daniel Grupp talked about certain habitual behaviors or practices that lead to success in R&D teams  It is important to give up finesse and use ingenuity and robust processes as the first effective R&D practice, said Grupp.  Another important practice is to answer questions quickly before they lead to blockages.  For habit number three, it is important to first recognize that is not possible to have faster, cheaper, and quality solutions.  In medical device R&D, Grupp suggested to keep a focus on quality and time even if that might raise the cost.  Not to make assumptions was the next important habitual practice to weave into R&D.  It is important to test everything and be aware and honest about what you know and what you do not know.  It is important to not presume that what is not known will work fine, said Grupp.  As the next important practice, Grupp suggested to have lightly wrapped testbeds and prototypes so that one can see inside when one builds something and parts can be easily changed.  Not to be a perfectionist was the next crucial effective practice.

In R&D phase, it is important to focus on doing just enough to advance to the next stage, said Grupp.  At this stage you simply don’t know enough to invest in covering all the contingencies and overbuilding.  You “don’t need to build a pyramid to change the light bulb” said Grupp.  And yet if one must overbuild, it is important to lightly wrap it to enable it to change easily.  Next important practice is to dream big and have the end point in mind.  Sometimes while focusing on immediate steps of R&D, one may get stuck in what is known and it is important to think beyond to the next steps.  The last effective R&D practice is to pick doable projects.  These are projects where you can map out a route from start to finish.  If you cannot say what you need to solve at each step then the project is finesse and it should be avoided.  Doable projects are projects with identified need and solutions that require hard core engineering, but no miracles, said Grupp.  The session was followed by Q&A.




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