Research and development consist of the investigative activities that a person or business chooses to do with the desired result of a discovery that will either create an entirely new product, product line, or service.
R&D isn’t just about creating new products, as it can be used to strengthen an existing product or service with additional features.
Research refers to any new science or thinking that will result in a new product or new features for an existing product. Research can be broken down into either basic research or applied research. Basic research seeks to delve into scientific principles from an academic standpoint, while applied research seeks to use that basic research in a real-world setting.
The development portion refers to the actual application of the new science or thinking so that a new or increasingly better product or service can begin to take shape.
Research and development is essentially the first step in developing a new product, but product development is not exclusively research and development. An offshoot of R&D, product development can refer to the entire product life cycle, from conception to sale to renovation to retirement.