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Transferring Innovation to Global Markets

By: Michael Doyle
Posted: April 6, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 4 of 4

Bringing a new product to market requires a lot of domain-specific expertise, as well as cross disciplinary interaction. Market development teams investigate what ethnic groups, age brackets, income levels and geographic regions are good targets and create models that examine primary purchase motivators. Chemists focus on discovering new compounds and materials that can be used in formulations. Biologists consider how the body’s systems will react with a formula, screening for factors such as degree of potency or toxicity. There are also environmental and regulatory experts needed, and the list goes on.

Yet all too often, it’s easy for R&D stakeholders to get too comfortable working within their own disciplinary cocoon, losing sight of the fact that their specialized contributions are critical not just to the experiment or test at hand, but also to the big picture objectives of the organization. Ensuring that the research generated by domain experts is easily accessible and useful across disciplinary boundaries thus requires more than the shared knowledge base already described. It also requires a more collaborative mind-set throughout the global enterprise. When it comes to incorporating a new system or process that enables greater information sharing, individual specialists tend to ask, “What’s in it for me?”—but they should also be encouraged to think, “How does this improve the success of my organization as a whole?” With this in mind, a corporate culture that focuses on collaborative excellence as well as individual achievement is imperative, so that research and development stakeholders are rewarded for contributing to the global knowledge base rather than for simply being the only expert that can solve a particular problem.

Summation

To take advantage of emerging opportunities, today’s beauty brand owners need to be able to quickly, nimbly and cost-effectively adapt proven formulations to meet the unique geographic, physical, environmental and personal preference requirements of new markets. Armed with tools and processes that enable global knowledge sharing, local decision-making and greater collaboration, organizations can empower their development sites to generate the greatest value from regional investments.

Michael Doyle is principal application scientist at Accelrys, a provider of scientific business intelligence software and services for the life sciences, energy, chemicals, aerospace and consumer products industries.