For the entrepreneur, there is significant overlap related to research, product development, and the actual production of products and services. Many organizations are just too small to become involved in basic research and they have to rely on combining existing and emerging technologies in creative ways. Entrepreneurs view R&D as interdependent processes that are intertwined and not very distinct. For the entrepreneur, research and product development includes:
- generating an idea for a product or services;
- gathering and synthesizing information on the idea;
- designing the product or services;
- developing a prototype of the product or service;
- developing a production process for the product or service;
- producing the product or service.
Our focus in this book is primarily on the first four steps including idea generation, gathering information, preliminary design, and prototyping. From the standpoint of the entrepreneur, these steps are the essence of R&D. Steps 5 and 6 are part of product engineering and they will not be discussed in depth.