Some of the key milestones in the company’s history are shown in the timeline below (Reckitt & Benckiser, 2014a):
Technological innovation may be described as the continuous process of engaging with the internal and external environment of the organization to discover more profitable and efficient ways of marketing knowledge. It results in the creation of new products, processes and marketing methods. Technological innovation may be defined as “the process beginning from the idea of a new concept to the success in a meaningful way of the practical application of the idea for non-technical phenomenon (Liu et al., 2010, p. 6).” In contrast to R&D, technological innovation is not restricted to laboratory work and is not necessarily performed by scientists. Technological innovation can be performed by everybody in the organization by identifying potential problems and taking initiative at solving them.
Reckitt & Benckiser depends on continuous R&D and innovation to develop new and innovative products and compete effectively in the marketplace. According to Forbes magazine (2012), it is the fifth most innovative company in Europe and sells more than 20 million units in 2010 in the categories of health, hygiene and home. The company maintains a policy that 30% of the annual revenue should derive from products developed in the last three years (Reckitt & Benckiser, 2014). In 2008, the company spent £102 million in R&D which had gone up to £119 million in the following year. However, during 2010 and 2011 the spending had declined to £33 and £26 million respectively. In 2012, the spending had increased again to £171 million.
According to Hughes and Mina (2012), the United Kingdom is a laggard when it comes to R&D spending. The percentage of GDP spent on R&D has declined in recent years.