The Bell Labs I came to in 1985 was a mammoth enterprise, spanning activities from truly basic research to advanced development, while other parts of the company (then AT&T) made actual products.
Each of these activities was centered in distinct parts of the organization. One of the amusing consequences was the idea that once basic researchers found something useful, they figured they just had to "throw it over the wall." Ideally, it would hit some developer on the head. After rubbing the bruise, he (rarely she) would notice the shiny new object and figure out to make tons of money.
That was the theory.
Toward the end of my career, I spent a lot more time with developers, for example at the factory in Orlando where they perfected the processes that in a few years would create the next generation of integrated circuits. It was rather embarrassing to realize that these folks were not hanging out next to the wall, waiting to be hit on the head. In fact, they were far across the field, barely visible, working on the problems that really mattered to manufacturing. Back at the wall lay hundreds of rusting ideas, with no one paying the least attention.
I'm afraid this is a common problem among academic scientists, as well. They get grants for research related to some economically important field, but often they never take the time to learn the real issues, and talk to the people that understand them. So they devise elegant solutions for exciting, unimportant problems, often the same problems over and over, while engineers do the real work. (The analogous problem in biomedicine is the need for "translational" research.)
A perennial example is ultrasmall transistors. Of course Moore's law demands that transistors get ever smaller. But smallness is not the end goal. Smallness is related to low power and to high speed, but these don't come for free; they must be directly addressed. Moreover, a small transistor is useful only if it can be packed very densely with other small transistors. A single, really small transistor every millimeter or so is not solving any important problem. Finally, making anything like a modern chip requires billions of transistors with virtually none failing. For all these reasons, making a single, isolated, slow, wasteful transistor is just irrelevant.
Of course, every so often one of those crazy, disconnected ideas changes the world.