➢ Marketing DNA in R&D Leaders

Finding Commercial DNA in Innovation Leaders

R&D today is linked to business strategy, and is therefore at the forefront of achieving commercial objectives. For innovation to thrive in an organization, it requires leaders that are now more than just great scientists. Technical expertise is no longer enough to compete globally at a time of rapid change and need for new ways of doing things.  But R&D requires a scientist first, and scientists don’t necessarily embrace or transition to commercial competence easily. I think it safe to say most don’t and are best left with the science.

Great innovation leaders are not born. After all, a PhD has a very different focus than a marketing or sales leader. Our recent experience indicates that the best strategic R&D leaders are developed by forward-looking organizations. In the same way that some major industrials cross-train sales and marketing leaders through rotating assignments in both disciplines, great strategic R&D leaders have been rotated through marketing and commercialization assignments and given small businesses to run as part of their development plans. This builds a commercial mindset, with appropriate performance measurement on business goals, and gives them the perspective of the overall strategic objectives of the organization and how R&D fits into achieving those goals.

So, in the various industrial segments we find ourselves working in most often, we are identifying those organizations that do a great job of developing commercial genes in R&D leaders, and focusing our recruiting there. We recommend clients do the same.