MIT Sloan Review has an article on “The Four Ways IT Is Revolutionizing Innovation.” The factors according to the article are:
Measurement, experimentation, sharing and replication.
Of these factors, sharing and replication are clearly universal drivers enabled by IT. Most industries are benefiting from improved sharing and replication of information across R&D organizations. The impact of other two is not universal.
The examples given in the article are mainly Internet and networking companies. Clearly, they have the luxury of using IT for measurement and experimentation. A lot of their data is easily available and IT can really support experimentation.
In many other industries (high-tech, electronics, bio-tech, aerospace and automotive, etc.), IT does not actually measure R&D results or aid experimentation. In fact, a lot of the challenges in managing R&D stem from the difficulty in measuring R&D results and finding ways to experiment with R&D processes/tools to improve efficiency. Any thoughts?