When I visit your business, the first question I’m going to ask is, “where is your R&D located?”

And then you’ll say, “hey, we’re not IBM or HP! We don’t even have an R&D department.. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have good ideas.”

Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhh.  Right.

Did I ask if there WAS an R&D department? No. I asked about the whereabouts of R&D.  WHERE does R&D happen?

If you can’t answer that, bang, right now, quick, don’t think, just answer; you’ve got a serious problem and the days of your business are numbered.

Too much drama? Really?

When the Japanese economy slid in this same ditch, they were in it for 20 years. Too much drama? Want to wait 20 years for business to pick up?

At the original, real, genuine, pre-bean counter, pre-shareholder, pre-Fiorina days at HP, R&D happened in Dave’s garage. The geniuses who started Apple Computer had a place for R&D too. It was a garage as well.

Southwest Airlines had a brilliant R&D department before the company was even formed. It was in a bar and the plan for the airline was developed on the back of a napkin. Read that again. A billion dollar idea on the back of a napkin.

Think you need a big sexy R&D budget? Think again.

Think you don’t need an R&D strategy? Think good ideas just flow at your business? Think you’re doing about as well as possible in this economy? Think your people come openly to you with their ideas? Wrong, wrong, wrong and really wrong.

If you don’t have “what new ideas do we have to talk about?” on the agenda of every meeting at your business, you’re wasting a lot of valuable talent time in useless meetings.

The low hanging fruit has been harvested folks. The days of easy panning for gold are over. We’ve sold the donkey, the pan and the shovel. Now what?!

White collar people listen up. Your days are numbered. Your certificates, titles and MBAs aren’t going to get you a job five years from now when Mr. Singh in India opens his global accounting firm. His nephew is already operating a large stable of programmers who are gainfully and cheaply employed by MicroSoft and the above mentioned IBM and Hewlett-Packard. His brother is storing YOUR medical records on HIS servers in HIS country.

When China and India and a host of other over-populated, highly motivated countries bank a few, what, Euros?, they won’t even need the U.S as a market. We’ll be broke and looking for work. No one opens a new store in a slum.


I don’t care how small you business is, you’d better have:
1. A place where R&D happens
2. A procedure for R&D, especially D, to happen. That’s TO happen. 

Budget? You might not need an R&D budget if you have the two things I just recommended, no insisted, you have. If you have talent at your business, they’ll R on their own if you let them and they’ll gladly D for you if you don’t squash every creative thought they generously offer. Now read THAT again. Read it until you get it.

Time is very short. I can show you a thousand companies operating on borrowed time.

Let’s get moving again.

Chris Reich  Chris@TeachU.com