“It is easy to impede [economic] growth by excessive research, by having too high a percentage of scientific manpower engaged in adding to the stock of knowledge and too small a percentage engaged in using it. This is the position in Britain today.”
(Charles Carter and Bruce Williams, economists writing on the British Economy some 40 years ago - ref below)
A fascinating piece in McKinsey Quarterly on the economic impacts of R&D - "Where Innovation Creates Value
The article warns against excessive focus on R&D and "invention" led industrial policy , and highlights that the benefits of innovation accrue to the one who commercialises it successfully, not the one who invents it.
One obvious example of its mistaken policies is the provision of subsidies and grants for R&D but not for the marketing of products or for the development of ground-level know-how to help the people who use them. Similarly, companies such as Wal-Mart have very large IT budgets and staffs that develop a great deal of ground-level expertise and even develop in-house systems. But none of this qualifies for R&D incentives.
Should we be rewarding Tesco for implementing technology, rather than providing grants to start-ups?
Would it encourage large companies to "pull" innovation out of surrounding networks?
Would it build a "commercialised from the start" start-up environment?
Charles F. Carter and Bruce R. Williams, “Government scientific policy and the growth of the British economy,” The Manchester School, 1964, Volume 32, Number 3, pp. 197–214.