Both society and customers pose many new challenges for public research and technology organisations. Making the right long‐term technological choices, generating and maintaining an appropriate research portfolio, speeding‐up innovation processes and integrating customer and market needs into science‐based research are among the major expectations. We describe how a multidisciplinary research organisation has implemented new processes and practises to rise to these challenges. The paper points out the benefits of using a parallel research approach to the business innovation process, where the different phases – the development of new technology, applications and business models – are carried out interactively and concurrently. Furthermore, we show how foresighting acitivities, research portfolio management and use of business plans for long‐term research programmes contribute to the parallel research process.