Our Research and Development Journey Thus Far
I consider us to be in year three of our Research and Development journey at HSI Sensing. The first year was all development. We had ideas of what we could create with our product and wanted to find out what demand looked like. Some of our ideas were easy to develop, while some proved to be more challenging. Our ideas have also brought success, when others have fallen short. Within the first year, we developed new ways to package the core of our product, the reed switch, and made existing concepts smaller. Our other innovation was to renovate an old idea that had begun and stopped multiple times, when in truth, it just needed to be completed. We had so many ideas that were straightforward developments that exhausted our conversation and our capacity.
The second year involved deeper development of our products. It also saw the initiation of fundamental questioning, but no research projects yet. In this year, we launched a new product that stressed our development muscles. It was still based on the reed switch, but applied in a new and innovative way. With this new product, we were forced to test our understanding of magnetism. There was a slight element of research to enhancing the institutional knowledge of magnetism, but this was still done with a development mindset. We had a specific product in mind, but we lacked the best method to implement it. Thus, our research involved mostly trial and error iterations of different configurations. Research wasn’t pursued with a goal of fundamental understanding, but solely to solve the design challenge.
During this second year, three things happened that led us towards fundamental questioning.
- We began to exhaust our development ideas we could tackle easily
- Customers brought some complex issues that needed more complex solutions and our ideas involved technologies that were complimentary, but not inside our core knowledge set
- We tackled some longstanding product improvement projects that made us question our fundamental understanding of how the product functions at its essential, base levels.
Now, we are in our third year. Our primary product launch this year is actually the technological update of a concept we developed eight or nine years ago. The most exciting aspect about this product is that it has multiple versions planned, and even there’s already a next step. We know that we can use this product to solve an existing problem and we know what innovation we will apply to solve the next problem. Beyond that, we have begun to research some of our product’s core capabilities to gain understanding on solving more problems. Currently, we are researching a new technology that will expand our ability to solve sensing problems. We are completing quality improvement projects for our products and are accelerating the development of new ones.
Looking to the fourth year of this journey, I foresee us becoming more balanced across the continuum of Research and Development. We will move deeper into fundamental understanding and ask even more questions that build institutional knowledge. We will begin applying what was learned in year three to enhance both research and development projects. Existing products in development will be expanded in their reach with new models. Those that have been on the market for longer will achieve market penetration. These efforts will result in new customer specific development as we customize product to meet the demands of customer centric applications.