I´ve always thought that the acronym R&D&i corresponded to the greater or lesser risk of carrying out the associated activities, hence the first two were capital letters and the third was lower case.

After 15 years working in a technology centre I realise that referring to research and development in capital letters and innovation in lower case affects the idea people have of these types of activities. Psychologically, what is internalised, in my view, is that innovation is less important than research and development.

On the basis that innovation is a risky activity that is carried out and whose result is closer to its implementation and, therefore, increases the possibilities of generating value, competitiveness and, ultimately, prosperity, I believe that innovation deserves, at the very least,to be written in capital letters as well.

Likewise, the experience working in CARTIF has also made me reflect on the result of this sum of three variables: R&D&I, on the dependent variable of the equation… For me, the result is clearly the generation of IMPACT. And it is impact in two directions: research and development generate impact on the state of the art that innovation does not generate and that is materialised, mainly in articles and patents, which anyone anywhere in the world can take advantage of. Innovation generates impact on the market given that, in the words of Professor Xavier Ferrás, “innovation is the successful exploitation of an idea with risk, which materialises mainly in profits and growth, localised in a specific point”

Xavier Ferrás.

Technology centres are entities created to take on risky tasks and create technological knowledge, but above all we are entities created to make the most of this technological knowledge and apply it in the market and transform it into economic and social benefit.

It is therefore important for a technology centre to work to ensure that r&d generate innovation, trying to give value to the results so that the market internalises and understands the results generated and exploits them successfully. It is important to rely on collaborators to speed up processes of obtaining results and, above all, to speed up the process of transformin r&d into I. In short, it is about collaborating to gain value. It is also about helping to build efficient innovation systems, adjusting the obtaining of results with risks to the demands of the market from the beginnig of the conception of the result so that there is no time and/or technological lag between generation and exploitation that burden the innovation systems with inneficiencies and breaks in their gears. It is important to contextualise the framework for action at a global level rin order to advance the state of the art by gaining positions, but to act locally in the valorisation and transfer processes, so that the economic benefit is passed on to our local systems. All of this is key for innovation ecosystems to come into being, increase their capacities and consolidate over time. All of this is key so that innovation leads to more innovation.

Irene Hompanera
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