I love this idea! Seems to me that I read somewhere that the D side of R&D is expected to yield about 50% success, while R is expected to yield about 10%. The idea is that if your success ratio is too high, you're not pushing the envelope enough. Obviously if it's too low, you're wasting money on pie-in-the-sky pipedreams or you should find another career! I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm too brainy to be satisfied cranking out the same old stuff, but too practically minded to be interested in academic ivory towers. I'm still looking for that happy medium. For now, it's found only in my garage lab.
In response to prabhakar_deosthali, his kind of research is often needed BEFORE marketing gets involved just to understand what can be done. Getting the marketeers involved too early results in unwarranted enthusiasm and expectation pressure that can skew results or drive a bad idea to completion. Engineers are also skewed in their view of the world, but most have some idea of what would be a great next generation device of interest.
Based on the number of companies marketing non-contact IR temperature measurement equipment, it is a device with a waiting market. So it was a good choice.
The concept of checking for marketability prior to product development is not new, but perhaps applying it to a research group is. And developing a product based on thorough research is always the best choice, unless somebody else is bankrolling the project.
Getting marketing input at the right stage of the project is very important. When the engineers see some visibility in a concept , the potential product idea should be discussed with marketing because - 1) normally the marketing dept will have some intelligence inputs from the competitors whether they are also upto something similar. 2) The marketing team can asses the saleability of the potential product to the customers 3) they can have some positive criticism of the shortfalls of the potential product.
National Semiconductor has NS Labs for similar purposes, but with permanent and non-permanent staff. They also have close relationships with several technical universities. Many of the projects are intended to go back into the product lines as commercial products, and as such, they work closely with product line engineering and marketing.
It is important to have a dedicated R&D operation which is chartered to explore further out and possibly radical technologies, but it is not the only way creative designers in the product lines can prove their ideas.
Having technical ideas rejected/accepted/validated by marketing ("the market") is a necessary hurdle in a for-profit business, provided they are really doing their job correctly.
It is not a "cheat", industry can use and benefit from this type of lab. The creative designers are able to put their ideas forward and have the opportunity to prove the commercially viability.
Sometimes technical ideas are rejected by marketing and non-technical management who may not understand the concept, or the market, or may be suffering from the "marketing invents, engineers build" mindset.
The Other Tesla David Blaza5 comments I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...