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Why R&D is Important in Digital Business

Why R&D is Important in Digital Business

Gone are the days of simply producing banner ads-as digital strategists today, we’re in the business of building digital products. Milestone build digital products and we create digital experiences that transcend the physical consumer-brand relationship. It’s not our job to create ads to market brands online, but rather it is our job to create strong and meaningful relationships with consumers and we do this through digital products.

This now more than ever is why digital agencies must focus serious attention on dedicated internal research and development.

R&D is tantamount to the success of agencies in the 21st century. Without it, agencies will lumber towards a slow but inevitable stagnation in an age of increasing personalization, user-centered design and always-on, connected digital ecosystems. Digital media is dying and pre-rolls and banners won’t save you now. We need to be the champions for building digital products that people want to use.

But what’s holding agencies back from undertaking R&D? For many, it’s a seemingly foreign concept and one that is usually synonymously seen as costly and risky. In reality, R&D should be viewed as a vital investment.

Without a clear understanding of what R&D can do for a business as an investment (rather than as a cost), it’s likely to be baulked at rather than accepted as a highly beneficial business tool.

With this context then, what are the reasons it’s so important for agencies to undertake research and development?

If you’re not learning, you’re not moving forward
Experimentation is key to discovery. Treating research and development as an opportunity to learn leads to bold experimentation and the pushing of boundaries of the way a product traditionally works, but on your own terms rather than reacting (usually too late) to what other innovators in the industry are already doing. In doing so, the capabilities of the agency will expand, your staff will be happier and more motivated and you might just revolutionize the way people interact with digital products.

Failing is the fastest way to learn
R&D should be approached with no fear. Sure, by the very nature of its name ‘research’ and ‘development’ is somewhat methodical, but theories need to be tested and they don’t always hold up in the real world. Failing at a certain stage, or even writing off an entire project as a failure shouldn’t be a major cause for concern or doubt-either you’ll gain a new perspective that shapes how you work in the future, or it’ll uncover new insights that you perhaps would not have discovered by playing it safe. If you fail fast and fail often, it’s likely the end product will be much better off for it. Failure doesn’t need to be debilitating.

Building cool shit not only arms you with knowledge you didn’t have before, but also with awesome stuff to show off
There’s nothing better than being able to show off to industry peers, potential clients and existing clients with amazing products you’ve built in your own time because you’re not satisfied with the status quo of “that’s just the way it’s always been.” If you claim that as a business you’re on the forefront of digital, you need to not only talk the talk but have proof on display of how you’re reinventing how consumers interact with technology in seamless, useful and life-enriching ways.

The formula to successfully implement R&D in any agency is simple; it just takes dedication and tenacity. The environment for R&D to succeed ultimately consists of a combination of:

Exploring ideas outside of client constraints
Getting the right people together in a room
Allocating them the time to do it
Providing them with the right tools

For more information or advice on R&D for your brand, contact us now. Milestone will be glad to assist your R&D requirements in both branding and digital business.