By identifying an idea with a customer we then setup a team to perform a POC which includes identifying the potential and feasibility of the idea. We then identifying the technologies and learning new and better ways of solving a problem with new and better technologies. Once the POC is done we can evaluate and see if we should proceed with the idea to build a product for it.
With all our R&D we use an Agile approach (i.e., SCRUM, Lean, etc.) which helps us in an iterative way to identify and answer questions at a much faster pace then the traditional waterfall approach. Most of the time we use SCRUM framework to approach our R&D with weekly Sprints which we found very useful in helping us evaluate and make a decision.
The four phase of R&D we use are described below but mainly they are, Research, Discovery, Development & Testing.