Ideas can come from anywhere.
Research and development can and should be done at all levels of a company. Democratizing the process of finding, creating, and turning new ideas into viable solutions that can be taken to market is an effective way to get people involved in the long term success of your organization. It can also be a messy process that starts and stops and winds one way or another as a new product or service is developed.
Companies should encourage people to develop ideas to be brought to the table for discussion. Leadership and management teams need to be open minded enough to know that people will be working on something on company time that is not making money right now--but it might in the future.
If a company opens the door for people to get involved in this kind of effort, not everyone will walk through. Even for those that take that big first step and volunteer to help, they may not have what it takes to go all the way. But, at least you offered the opportunity and that's what people will remember.
Give people space to create and the boundaries between what people perceive can be done will be broken. Shattering preconceived notions is a key aspect of the creative process and necessary for real growth to occur.
Stay diverse and distributed because it allows one to be flexible. Becoming monolithic limits your options and enables stagnation.