The highest-performing labs use the best talent-management practices. That’s no coincidence.
Of the $1.2 trillion spent globally each year on R&D across corporations and academia, 40 percent—much the largest share—pays for people. Our team interviewed and surveyed world-class researchers in academia and a range of industries to understand what drives research productivity in labs. We found that the best ones, regardless of specialty or industry, share a pattern of behavior across six key practices: talent, strategies and roles, collaboration, problem solving, portfolio and project management, and alignment with the needs of the business and the market. To understand what characterizes the best labs, we then studied 4,500 researchers in 260 laboratories in academia and research-based industries, including automotive, basic materials, high tech, and pharmaceuticals.