More than 70% of skills required of R&D leaders to meet innovation goals are non-technical.

The New Environment for R&D Teams

R&D executives are at the forefront of driving value for their companies with innovation, but rapidly changing business conditions require R&D teams to possess a new set of innovation and leadership capabilities to drive greater impact. R&D teams must transition from ‘order takers’ to ‘idea shapers’ and go beyond technical expertise in order to meet innovation demands.

Companies with high innovation-potential R&D workforces have new product sales performances that are 75% better than other organizations.  Put simply, this performance adds up to $1.4 billion in additional sales each year for a $10 billion company.  CEB research identified five sets of skills and behaviors that significantly drive innovation potential of R&D staff - customer empathizer, idea integrator, influencer, risk taker, and results seeker.  Collectively, these five markers explain over 70% of R&D staff's innovation potential.

The Five Markers of High Innovation Potential

Each of the five markers significantly impacts R&D staff's innovation potential. Collectively, the five markers indicate over 70% of R&D staff's innovation potential.

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CEB R&D Leadership Academy consists of three, two-day sessions focused on building the innovation potential and key business capabilities of your R&D staff.  Grounded in research and developed in conjunction with CEB's network of R&D executives, the curriculum targets three of the most influential markers of innovation potential - customer empathizer, idea integrator, and influencer. CEB R&D Leadership Academy's ongoing learning experience helps participants apply newly learned skills to real-world projects, ensuring visible impact on individual and organizational initiatives.


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  •  Pre/Post Session Assignments
  •  Two-day Classroom Sessions

Session I: Drive Innovation Through Collaboration (Customer Empathizer)

  • Increase trust across a globally dispersed R&D network through tailored communication to accelerate idea sharing.
  • Drive broader participation and greater collaboration in innovation by effectively balancing and integrating multiple perspectives.
  • Gather information and customer input to understand their underlying needs, and champion the customer perspective in idea and technology development.

Session II: Enhance Business Decisions (Idea Integrator)

  • Integrate business strategy and environmental factors, alongside technical expertise, to guide R&D decision making and drive value for the organization.
  • Systematically unpack challenges to better define the problem, identify underlying causes, and inform potential solutions.
  • Manage uncertainty, assumptions, and subjectivity to guide prioritization and investment decisions.

Session III: Obtain Stakeholder Commitment (Influencer)

  • Deploy persuasion principles to secure stakeholder commitment and advance ideas through the innovation funnel faster.
  • Convey technical recommendations, product value, and project needs in a relatable and compelling way.
  • Segment and analyze stakeholders based on their innovation impact and perceptions of risk.

Who Should Attend?

Participants of our public classroom are generally in mid-management positions, with 8 – 15 years of experience. The participant profile is more flexible for Onsite delivery, which allows us to tailor the learning experience across a variety of audience demographics and desired learning outcomes.

Sample Titles Include:

  • R&D Specialist
  • Research Engineer
  • Technical Engineer
  • Senior Engineer

  • R&D Project Manager
  • R&D Manager
  • R&D Director