I completely agree with Tim Pryce's comments on driving innovation through manufacturing.

Within building materials all too often we stick to what has worked and what we can churn out the quickest.  

The Technical department can often be unfunded and shoved in the corner to think up schemes and new products that will never see the light of day, let alone be passed by the Operations Director to enter onto the line.

Talking to the MD's, CEO's and owners out there; is your marketing department in charge of pushing the company name and creating great looking branding or are they also involved in coordinating market intelligence into what your customers want from your range moving forward and who the great innovators are within your space?  Give technical the ammunition and they will generally deliver.