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Maximize Your ROI on R&D Through Captured Learned Value

Apr 21, 2016

The crux of research and development (R&D) can be boiled down to one key idea: building on previous knowledge.

Though this previous knowledge may be a virtual absence of information, applying what is known and building out to the unknown is the key to delivering results. By identifying, capturing, communicating, and utilizing all knowledge gained from research allows for effective application of the concept, learned value, to a project.

Learned value is a key process in the R&D approach. Potential learned value is generated throughout a project’s performance period and may be far greater than the value earned by fulfilling the mission of only the project. This process may encompass not just the subject of research, but the research infrastructure. It would include knowledge related to raw materials sources and availability; research methods and networks; and alternative applications of insights.

The learned value process is created when potential learned value is captured and used by all stakeholders, resulting in the achievement of organizational objectives and/or maximizing new research outcomes.

By documenting each step, potential risks, and the outcome, the researcher has created a working history that is useful to current and future opportunities. Through the process of identifying risks and what works, researchers are able to accurately predict future outcomes and additional risks. By developing and utilizing knowledge, researchers can better structure their research focus, which supports and increases stakeholder investment opportunities.

No one likes to admit that their predictions and theories were disproven. But in R&D, knowledge generation is the key and uncovering unknowns is an inevitable part of the process. By practicing learned value management, researchers can help to ensure that the full value of knowledge produced through R&D is captured and leveraged for the benefit of the organization and its stakeholders. 

Learned value management is an effective tool to provide researchers, stakeholders, as well as outside research and industry leaders with the ability to obtain the maximum worth from all research endeavors, even those that do not yield the predicted results. By applying learned-value practices to research, the probability of producing high-value outcomes can be leveraged to create additional opportunities for funding new technologies while safeguarding against the repetition of past errors. Learned value allows organizations and their researchers the chance to capitalize further on research, funding, and resources. 

Written by: Andrea Ware