R+D+I in Spain. The road to business progress and social innovation.

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What is R&D&I? First of all, it is a key function that makes it possible to increase the quality of life of a country. Promoting it is a priority for many governments worldwide, including Spain’s, as it is a comparative strategy for nations that want to be at the forefront of knowledge.

Companies that are committed to investing in R&D&I activities in Spain are extremely valuable. In this article we will explain why and we will also reveal whether your company is part of them without even knowing it.


The meaning of R+D+I

At first glance it may seem like some kind of complicated code, but this combination of letters joined by a + symbol is simply the acronym for Research, Development and Innovation. To understand what they stand for, we will analyze the first two acronyms separately:

R+D (research and development)

According to the Frascati Manual prepared by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), they comprise the creative and systematic work carried out with the objective of increasing the volume of knowledge in order to conceive new applications from the available knowledge.

In other words, R&D refers to those activities carried out by different entities in order to develop goods and services, or to improve them.

Activities included in R+D

Basic research

Basic research is everything that includes experiments and theoretical work carried out to obtain or deepen new knowledge but without the intention of giving it any direct application. For example, when a pharmaceutical company studies the behavior of a virus, the modes of contagion, its evolution and the effects it has on the human body, it is called basic research.

Applied research

Although it also consists of original works that seek to generate new knowledge, these are usually directed to more specific objectives. If we return to the previous example of pharmaceuticals, after having carried out an evaluation of the virus, a form of applied research could be the studies carried out to develop a vaccine.

Experimental development

This is the systematic work based on existing knowledge obtained during research or practical experience, i.e., it is when we apply knowledge to improve or create a new product or process. In this step is when the pharmaceutical company manufactures the vaccine.

And when do we reach innovation?

The final acronym, Innovation, is the introduction we make of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), process, marketing method, system, among others, in the market or in the internal practices of our company. That is, when what we work so hard on is finally commercialized and applicable.

R+D+I in companies

As we mentioned at the beginning, R&D&I represents a competitive advantage that is maintained through studies of scenarios, hypothetical, physical or abstract, to achieve not only the improvement of products and services, but also to increase social innovation.

Today almost all of us enjoy the gifts of technoscience, which has undoubtedly facilitated many aspects of our daily lives. Advances in telecommunications, nanotechnology, the internet of things, Big Data, are all benefits obtained through the functionality of R&D&I.

Tasks that used to take days or much more effort, can now be done in minutes or at the push of a button, and thanks to these new powers, we have the time to focus on more complex and technical objectives that promise to solve and satisfy a greater number of needs and problems.

But for this to be carried out successfully, we need the collaboration of three fundamental actors, because Research, Development and Innovation, if we want to put real effort into it, cannot be delegated only to companies, it is also necessary the intervention and convergence of agreements between the State and the Universities.

The study between State, University and Enterprise, also known as the Triple Helix of the economy, is analyzed as a model proposed by Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff (1997).

This model pretends that the action of the University is a creator of knowledge, which plays a primordial role between the relationship between business and government; and how these are developed to create innovation in organizations as a source of knowledge creation.

We are talking about an intellectual process oriented to visualize the evolution of the relationship between university-society, and on the other hand characterized by the intervention of the university and organizations in the economic and social processes.

In simpler words, it is about the university, supported by the government, being able to create sufficient knowledge and train people with the necessary competencies so that they, in turn, participate or collaborate through organizations and thus generate improved products and services that the government (the market regulators) can implement or apply to finally achieve innovation in different aspects of society.

R&D&I is used to solve the structural and conjunctural problems of a country. It is for this reason that it is very important for governments to ensure that a portion of national funds are allocated to educational projects and companies that carry out activities focused on R&D&I. Investment in this area is what will allow nations to advance and generate greater wealth.

Among the countries that lead the percentages with higher investment rates dedicated to R&D&I, we find Israel (4.9% of GDP), South Korea (4.5% of GDP), Sweden (3.3%), Japan (3.2% of GDP), Germany (3.1% of GDP) and the United States (2.8% of GDP).

It is worth noting that several of this group of countries were the same ones to appear at the top of the 2021 ranking of the most innovative economies on the planet by the digital economic magazine Bloomberg.

R+D+I in Spain

It is clear that innovation is positioned as one of the fundamental pillars of the world economy. The more technical and/or scientific advances are available to a country, the more it will increase its added value, the more it will enjoy opportunities, and therefore, the more attractive it will become for foreign investors whose contribution will bring great benefits and wealth to the entire population.

According to the data collected by Bloomberg’s 2021 edition, shown in the table above, Spain ranks 31st in innovation. This study took into account factors such as investment in R&D, number of patents, productivity, high technology, among others.

While it is true that Spain has risen two positions with respect to the previous year’s ranking and 5 with respect to 2019, with 67.91 points out of a total of 100, this is still in the group of countries with “moderate” innovation.

Therefore, it is to be recognized that the innovation system in Spain is still small, it still needs to climb steps, and this is clear to the Spanish government, so it has not stood idly by.

In order to promote research, development and innovation, or R&D&I in Spain, different tools and incentives have been created, such as bonuses for research personnel and tax deductions on corporate income tax, which allow organizations to recover the costs of research and development.

These tools allow organizations to recover part of the expenditure that has been allocated to R&D&I activities, or to obtain funding to carry out new projects that are still in the pipeline. The goal is to incentivize and financially help companies to devote resources to develop R&D&I activities in the country.

Now, the important thing is to determine if your company qualifies as an innovative agent to enjoy these rights and financial incentives.

Business activities considered as R+D+i

Contrary to what you may think, it is not necessary to lead a team of researchers and scientists locked in a laboratory or creative workshop to qualify as a company involved in R&D&I.

According to The Oslo Manual 2021 , prepared by the OECD and EUROSTAT, whose content provides a harmonized definition of the concept of innovation and represents the international reference methodological manual for measuring innovation, those business activities that can be considered as innovative are:

  • Basic and applied research to acquire new knowledge and to produce specific inventions or modifications to existing techniques.

  • A good example of this type of activity can be found in the environmental crisis, which, in order to combat it, many companies are researching new methods to generate renewable, less polluting and more economical energy. If we reduce it to a much simpler expression, it is enough to reformulate the composition of a product to make it less harmful to the environment. Example: a fashion company researching methods to create fine fabrics from new or recycled materials.

  • Significant improvement of products (goods or services) or processes that involve assessing whether these are feasible and viable through testing and research to modify design or technical functions. These activities should aim to strengthen capabilities that allow the development of innovations or the ability to successfully adopt innovations developed by other companies or institutions.

  • Any amazing innovations in the testing phase that serve as examples? Starlink, a business project of Elon Musk that consists of a constellation of satellites, through which he will provide broadband internet to every corner of the world.

  • The acquisition of technical information, paying fees or royalties for patented inventions. It also includes the incorporation of new advanced software technologies -whether of its own creation or not- that, through algorithms and systems, serve to implement new products, processes or substantially improved services. These ways normally require, in spite of being previously designed, an effort on the part of the company that receives them to know how to adapt them to its own needs.

  • For example, there is an open source business management system known as Odoo, which is adjusted and developed by programmers according to the requirements of the business and the suggestions of consulting firms.

  • Make improvements on production processes. You can reorganize your management systems or the global way of managing your business, or work on the development of new commercial methods to sell your products or services.

Do you want to boost your company’s R+D+I in Spain?

Developing your company’s full potential will require keeping pace with the latest technological advances. Riding the wave of innovation will not only guarantee better performance and quality of your products and processes, it will also ease the financial path thanks to grants and incentive plans.

If you are looking for innovation, TAS Consulting will evaluate your case to find the most suitable tools and incentives to boost your company’s R+D+i. Do not hesitate to contact us so you can receive qualified advice and maximize the potential of your company.


Fourth Industrial Revolution: What is Industry 4.0 and how can it be understood?

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It is no secret that the world is currently immersed in a digital era, an era that is giving way to the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. But what is this fourth stage of industrialization based on? Well, it is based on intelligent production, processes systematized by advances in technology that produce great benefits to factories. Below we will explain what you need to know to understand this topic.

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How to start the digital transformation in your company

All posts Leave a comment   Published on par Jonatan Carbonell

Major changes begin with actions that lead us to a change, for this, and in order to update you in the new market requirements, you can start with renewing the teamwork, that is, that you consider that the digital transformation is nothing more than adapting your company to the demands of today’s commerce.

To make this path more bearable, whether you are planning it, or you already have it underway, you have steps that will help you achieve the necessary renewal successfully. These are specified in this post to guide you to do it, using the lean methodology, that is to say, to do it with the minimum necessary resources.

Road to change to achieve digital transformation

Remember that the main enemy you will get to take action is resistance. This is reflected in the uncertainty that arises in the face of unforeseen events. So it is convenient that you know that 1 in 3 Spanish companies is ready to start the digital transformation. Since they are aware of the modifications to the paradigm that is currently presented. Therefore, you should update and know the new consumption habits of the Spanish for this 2021, as they have presented a trend towards digital commerce.

We want to help you so that your company begins to address the digital transformation. Keep in mind that it is not only about renewing obsolete technologies, but also about emphasizing a radical change in the business culture, where it is a priority to define a comprehensive and long-term strategy.

Steps to address Digital Transformation

  1. Change corporate culture and internal organization

First of all, you must renew the corporate culture and internal organization in order to successfully approach the digital transformation process of your company. Remember that this is a comprehensive process, so it must include abrupt changes, which will have as a priority to meet the needs and demands of customers whose consumption habits have changed completely.

Keep in mind that obsolete models and planning are no longer adapted to current requirements, which demand a high competitiveness in products and services, thus being a priority to have a clear leadership of the CEO and senior management, so you must develop a corporate culture whose leadership prioritizes the adoption of new business strategies.

  1. Supporting new talents

As a complement to the challenges that your company requires, you need to incorporate professional staff that demonstrate a specialized profile in new technologies such as: Data Scientist, Scrum Master, Digital Architect or a Global Communications & Strategic Relations Manager. In addition, you must adapt the recruitment process as needed in the company, taking into account the remuneration and the elements of motivation and engagement.

It is advisable to implement strategies that lead to get, and retain, suitable people who present or have the required talent profile.

  1. Renewing the IT Department

One of the departments in need of profound changes is Information Technology (IT). Since, its systems and architectures must be complemented in order to develop solutions for the digital world.

It should be noted that the traditional part of this department can be kept, which will be focused on the Legacy systems department. However, it is necessary to develop a flexible digital part that allows digital innovation.

It is ideal to take advantage of the crisis to renew ourselves and change our habits, remember that the only trend is change, which forces us to keep updated.

  1. Create an environment of innovation inside and outside the company.

Another important point is to keep in mind that it is necessary to implement strategies which promote innovation within the organization, taking into account the impact of this initiative.

  1. Accepting the new competitive context

It is necessary to define the value proposition that will face the new disruptive startups, since it is not only about renewing the existing technology, but also about offering added value to customers in online sales, such as: feasibility, promotions, responsibility, online payments, personalized attention, positioning in networks, among other criteria. In this competitive context, it is important to differentiate oneself from the competition, and for this, the success achieved by Airbnb, Amazon and Uber, which were able to visualize their transformation by focusing on online business, can serve as a frame of reference.

With this new business vision, personalized experiences are obtained in real time with people, as a result, an interrelationship or engagement with the brand is achieved, thus uniting the strategies within digital marketing.

Attract new customers and retain existing ones

With the digital transformation, companies have a series of technological options that allow them to attract new customers and keep existing ones, some of these options are applications: Big Data software, Artificial Intelligence, among others. Their function is to provide companies with information on the pattern of habits and behaviors that buyers present, in addition, they identify the predominant trends when making decisions regarding their purchases.

By using these applications your company can develop strategies that lead to create authentic and personalized experiences with the user, also allow you to develop exclusive campaigns where there is segmentation of offers, promotions and more.

Minimize costs

It should be taken into account that the transformation of digital technology in companies is considered one of the best economic opportunities, since it allows eliminating unnecessary expenses that provide little or no results. It also leads to implement changes in the internal communication of the company through the applications, which allows to streamline decisions, and as a result, increases productivity and therefore income.

The company’s information storage will no longer require a local infrastructure, but will be available in the cloud, thus remaining available at any time and place. This new form of information storage reduces hardware and software costs. Of course, it must be taken into account that before any change that the company presents, the most important must be the training of employees, being this available through e-learning platforms, which allows it to be done online.

Streamlines decision making

The novelty of digital transformation is the power to manage insights, in addition to processing a large amount of data, which offers a wide range of possibilities allowing you to make the best decision in the face of a challenge or problem, taking into consideration that the solution is able to deliver value to the consumer, positively impacting your business.

Improve employee productivity and performance

The factors that are directly related to each other are: productivity and technology, that is, they are resources that are applied in the work environment obtaining the interrelation of personnel with their performance in the organization. This can be seen in the digital transformation when new processes, activities and developments are implemented, turning work into a more productive dynamic.

Among the results of digital transformation in the work environment are:

  • Better alignment of teams, resulting in faster and more accurate customer service.

  • Automation of processes and workflows, freeing employees from more complex work and driving them to pursue greater innovation.

  • Faster incident escalation and resolution.

  • Greater organizational transparency.

  • Remote work through the use of cloud resources.

  • Process automation to reduce manual work.

  • Access to information in real time.

  • Taking decisive actions in an agile way, based on data and predictive analytics.

Working in the digital environment

Working in a digital environment generates challenging practices that lead to experimentation and learning tests, so you will need to keep an open mind that is based on data, and even on the possibility of change in the organizational culture of the company, which will promote a new way of developing work.

The goal of this transformation is to consciously collaborate for this change to happen efficiently, but remember that you are not alone in this process, because you have tools that will allow you to thrive in this new ecosystem, adapting to the integration of the company with the market and digital consumers.

Increase brand visibility

For your company to have a good SEO positioning, you will not only need to offer an excellent product, but to make online sales you must be visible, that is, you have to attract the attention of consumers, and for this you must know the right time and place, and also make use of the platforms and digital media available to impose your brand.

It is convenient to know the competition, and for this you can conduct a market study, always bearing in mind that the best strategy you can use for your positioning is the segmentation of campaigns and personalized communication actions. When you use these strategies, they allow you to have an effective visibility in front of consumers, which leads you to influence their buying journey through the different channels they use.

Finally, these steps will allow you to keep moving forward in updating and delivering value to people, as well as having a new administrative and operational system which is aimed at customer service in this new business model.

If you need expert advice for the digital transformation process in your company, do not hesitate to contact us.

Spanish consumption habits [Updated 2021]

Spanish news Leave a comment   Published on par Jonatan Carbonell

It is no secret to anyone how many challenges we are facing today and how those challenges have pushed us to change some aspects of our lives in order not to give in to the pressure of the economic situation. Of course all this brought important changes in the consumption habits of people around the world; but this time, we will focus on breaking down the most important keys to understand how Spaniards are consuming today, and how you can understand your audience if you are in this market. Will you join us?

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Sustainable Development: What is it and how to be a sustainable company?

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Today, sustainable development is a key factor that companies apply in order to contribute to the goals of the 2030 Agenda. A company must not only be successful economically, but also ecologically and socially.

For a company, contributing to society and the environment is fundamental because they play an important role in sustainable development. But what is a sustainable company? Below we will explain in more detail what you need to know about this topic.

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The 10 best cities to live in Spain

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Spain is the second country in Europe preferred by tourists, is the eighth country in the world preferred by multinationals and is among the countries with the highest human development index in the world, according to the 2020 list of the United Nations. Are you thinking of moving? Then you are wondering, what are the best cities to live in Spain? We tell you.

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Investment opportunities in Spain for Americans

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An economic overview

Taking the initiative to invest in a foreign country has never been easy, and nowadays the Covid-19 situation has made everything a bit more complicated for everyone worldwide. But, resilience is the word that defines the world today, and thanks to that, the opportunities are once again blooming, particularly for Americans who want to expand to european soil.

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What is a holding company and what are its benefits in Spain?

All posts Leave a comment   Published on par Jonatan Carbonell

It is possible that you have already heard the term “holding”, but nevertheless, you are not very familiar with its meaning, because this Anglo-Saxon term translated into Spanish means “holding”, and it is used to classify the structure of a certain type of companies. So, you may be asking yourself “What is a Holding Company?”, well, here we will solve this and other doubts that may arise regarding this topic.

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Digital certificate: what is it and how to obtain it?

All posts Leave a comment   Published on par Jonatan Carbonell

Maybe you have heard about the digital certificate or an electronic certificate, but do you know how useful it is and how it can facilitate many of the procedures that nowadays are done online? If the answer is no, or you are not completely sure, stay because below we will give you all the details you need to know and we will tell you how to get your own digital certificate easily and securely.

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Company creation process Leave a comment   Published on par Jonatan Carbonell

“Setting up a company in a foreign country”, may sound a bit overwhelming when you read it, however, we have created this guide so you can orient yourself in the creation of your company in Spain.

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