When I decided to look at the importance of NZ businesses doing their research and development, the first company to occur to me was Simcro - which I knew was very focused on innovation. The R&D director, Rod Walker is a shareholder and a key person in the business. CEO, Will Rouse, says most NZ businesses don't have R & D because they are small and don't have the capacity. But this can change. Simcro's R & D department has grown from 2 to 12 in his time there.
Thanks to Callaghan Innovation for recommending some businesses, which it has funded and worked with and who have good records in R & D.
One of them, Paul Cameron from Booktrack, whose technology technology provides synchronized movie-style soundtracks to eBooks and digital text, says that some of the largest companies in the world are following his team's discoveries during the R & D process - they see Booktrack's research and development as fresh and exciting and, in many ways, superior to what they can achieve because of their size, he says.
Anand Kumble, co-founder of diagnostics company, Pictor warns that grant applications for help with R & D can be no fun - you have to give forecasts for seven years in advance which for a biotech start up is extremely blue sky. And your grant manager has to get your business or you'll get nowhere.
The expert column this week comes from Paul Adams from EverEdge IP who helps companies commercialise their R & D. R & D is about being innovative, he argues, and if NZ companies are not innovative, they don't have a future.
Next week: For many small businesses in New Zealand, they can't find the materials to manufacture locally or there is a factory in Korea or India just doing it so well and so efficiently, that it is the best option. Tell us your overseas manufacturing stories. It can be pioneering stuff.