R & D spend by organizations

Living in the US it's easy to forget that there is a world beyond its borders. I was reminded of this when I was rebuked (but in a kindly way) about the lack of examples from non-US companies in the stuff I'm currently writing. So I started rummaging around the webisphere for lists of non-US companies and came across a very interesting one on global R & D spend by industry sector compiled by the UK Government

What struck me as I read down the names was how many were US companies and how few from other countries. It was tempting to start a full analysis of the list but I resisted and just did a quick scan. It seemed that Japanese companies were second in R & D spend, followed by Scandinavian countries – but maybe I'm wrong and it was EU countries in the third slot.

What struck me as I read down the names was how many were US companies and how few from other countries. It was tempting to start a full analysis of the list but I resisted and just did a quick scan. It seemed that Japanese companies were second in R & D spend, followed by Scandinavian countries – but maybe I'm wrong and it was EU countries in the third slot.

I didn't see any company listed from Australia or New Zealand but then the wine industry didn't figure as one of the industry sectors. There was a sector "Beverages" which lists three companies PepsiCo (USA), Kirin (Japan), and Asahi Breweries (also Japan).

On PepsiCo, I read today (but in October's print edition) in Fast Company that Coca Cola is doing a much better job right now than PepsiCo on revenue generating, apparently due to slicker marketing. So I began to wonder where to advise a company to invest – R & D or marketing. But then I realized I was on a slippery slope: a sample of one, an interest in making a cause/effect connection, an almost complete lack of data, and so on. I moved on in my research.

Sadly the sector 'Alternative Energy' had the terse remark "No companies with sufficient R & D for inclusion". However, the sectors 'Gas, Water, and Mulitutilities' listed 9 companies 'Electricity' listed 17 (none of these US), and 'Oil and Gas Producers' listed 22. I know that many of those listed in the three sectors are doing alternative energy R & D so maybe the sector headings are misleading.

So was my time investment worth the reward? Yes, I found many non-US companies that would be interesting (and not just from an R & D perspective) to use as examples. I feel intrigued by the notion of R & D and how it translates into organization design and culture manifestations. I wondered how definitions of R & D are changing as there is a trend towards using customers and open source input to 'do' R & D. So a reasonable use of time – but I'd rather have got my day's quota of words written.

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