A guest article by Enahoro IO.
Research and development (R&D) is an important factor in any functioning business. It is also a major oversight for many locally-based companies that underestimate the value of full market comprehension. While some companies may simply skimp on this necessity because it can be too much of a hassle, others think of R&D as unnecessary luxury and a no go area even when they can afford it – they would rather buy the penny-wise pound-foolish approach. Like… “Why should I pay people just to sit and reasoning?” The worst of them all – are ignorant managers who think they have nothing left to learn, they’ll tell you… “Don’t teach me my job; I have been in this for 10 years now.” Oga manager, Kontinue!
To be honest, research and development requires funding as well as skilled knowledge workers who are able to understand and process the data at hand. Instead of investing in these tools, most locally-based companies will leave R&D to their managers. This is not desirable, as truly effective R&D requires workers who are dedicated solely to this task.
The major benefits that R&D can have for most businesses are that it helps to spur innovations based on industry trends and it helps to formulate a business plan based on market comprehension. Since so many locally-owned businesses fail to see the value in a functional R&D department, innovation is often stifled at the local level. This can have a negative impact on local economic growth in many smaller areas where businesses do not have to work as hard to compete with one another.
Since innovation is often relatively scarce in local sectors, the little innovation that exists does not do much in stimulating the local economy. Nigeria and other developing nations for instance are very restricted in their ability to come up with new ideas based on market research. Many blame this on schooling, which is often not offered on the same level as in G7 nations such as England, Japan and the US of A.
This lack of schooling is especially apparent in the lack of skilled knowledge workers able to address the R&D needs of local businesses. This puts some companies in a tight spot, as they may value innovation but simply lack the means to properly achieve it. Since these locally-based businesses are unable to innovate at their desired levels, they cannot compete with the rest of the market to the extent that they might prefer. Some companies may be unable to form a proper R&D department due to their inability to find employees who are qualified. Others may have employees with the necessary qualifications, but may lack the funding needed to provide useful R&D process.
Locally-owned businesses will need to find ways to solve these problems if they wish to compete on a larger scale. This means that they will need to find ways of increasing their funding to fund R&D, or find more qualified employees. If they have at least one or two in-house R&D experts, they may even try to implement an R&D training program to increase their R&D staffers. By increasing their efforts toward research and development, these companies will not only further their own business, rake in more profits as they expand but may also inspire innovations by their competitors. This in-turn will help to stimulate the Nigeria economy, paving the way for even further innovative strategies.
After pointing out the two major challenges faced by these companies in developing their R&D section which are funds and lack of skilled workers, solutions to these did not really hit the bull’s eye, direct solutions will be appreciated.