Research and development processes are vital for any company. Especially today, when the world is changing quickly, and every day new technologies appear. I remember a quote from Lewis Carroll: “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”. This is from his book “Through the Looking-Glass” which was written in 1871, but now this quote is more relevant than ever. In order not to stay in the past, companies should constantly look into the future and think strategically about what might happen tomorrow and how would that affect their business? Partly for that reason the R&D departments exist: it is a bridge between the present and the future.
On the one hand, everyone understands the necessity of R&D, but on the other, it can be very difficult to formulate and measure the specific value of that department. We never know for sure which research will be useful and will lead to innovations and which, on the contrary, will turn out to be dead ends. We can evaluate the real results and value of R&D efforts only by looking back “from the future”.
In my opinion, this story about PDF-files teaches us to be open to potential opportunities. Of course, we do not know how to predict the future, and we cannot say which innovation idea will change history. But that is why we should be open to various new things, look for different ways, and not blindly follow one set plan. Actually, the future is not as unpredictable as we think. We can and should work with it: analyze the past and present trends, make predictions and evaluate probabilities. There are special methodologies that help not only to explore, but also to shape the future.
Read more about Foresight methods in the article “Study the past, observe the present, shape the future”