Research can appear like a chaotic, ad hoc process, but it isn’t. There is a structure to the discipline of research which helps to ensure innovation and success. It starts with making sure we are asking the right questions. I know this sounds like something from Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, or a quote from some self-help guidebook, but it is not. The research we conduct today and the innovations it enables will shape the future. We’ve got to decide what we want that future to look like.
This first series of the Industrial Research Podcast provides a framework for not only exploring the future, but also for determining what key areas of your research area need to be explored to get there. On the way we visit Henry Ford, Swan & Edison and the Royal Navy Captain who sailed Darwin to the Galapagos Islands.
If you are a researcher within a commercial research team, a PhD candidate exploring your field, an Innovation team member, or even an entrepreneur looking for a new opportunity then this podcast / mini-series is for you. In this first series I try to capture everything I wish I knew about Industrial Research when I started my first research position.
You can listen to the show via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or anywhere you get your feeds from. In addition, below you will find a series of articles to accompany each episode, along with additional material. If reading is more your style, then these articles are for you.
My inspiration for this site? – My Mum asked, “What is it you do anyway?”.
OK, so I admit it. My Mother had no idea what I did for a living. I’m a Research Scientist, it is a profession I fell into. If you want to know more about me, then this is where to start.
Researchers are not always book worms, or mad scientists in white coats. We dive into research from a more traditional academic space and compare this to what happens in the commercial, industrial space. Along the way we introduce some key terminology introduced by the US Air force and NASA and now used all over the world.
With the definition of research covered, we now dive into the theory and practice of research. After a general introduction we cover the three phase research road-map, and how how each of the stages relate to each other.
The key to innovation success is asking the right questions. Doing this requires understanding how the future will develop. It is such an important area that I’ve broken it down into three parts. Is predicting the future possible? - Why yes it is. We explore people who’ve been remarkably accurate in their predictions.
Predicting the future is possible, so how do people do it? Well, Futurology has a long history and is still evolving. Here we try to extract a few nuggets of awesomeness from the Futurology industry and explore how Rohit Bhargava does trend prediction is done.
Trend prediction is a key part of predicting the future. But the trends need to be combined and the results refined. This is part of the “Research Funnel” process that is used by Amy Webb.
Returning to the research road-map we cover the second stage, addressing problems by applying existing solutions or technology.
There are cases where there are multiple solutions we can use, or where a problem requires the invention or application of a brand new technology or process. This is the third part of the research road-map process.
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