Today, we launched ‘Innovation Matters’, our latest report on the state of global innovation in organisations. As a leader in developing and delivering innovation solutions across industry, we were keen to know how executives perceive innovation, what value they attach to it, how they embed it in their organisations, and how they use it to drive change.
We conducted a research project in 2015. At the time, we found that nearly half of senior executives described their innovation activity as a ‘costly failure’. The big question is whether things had got better since then. Are leaders delivering value from innovation?
In my experience, the best way to learn is from the people who are the most successful. That is why as part of our most recent research we engaged more than 800 senior business and government executives from around the globe.
What did we find? Well, suffice to say that in my 30 years with PA, I have never known a time when the opportunities for innovation were so great but where so many organisations were missing out. There are numerous reasons organisations are not positioned to capitalise on innovation. But first and foremost, success starts with leaders who recognise the importance of innovation and are willing to do something about it.
Let me explain. Two-thirds of respondents told us their organisations would not survive without innovation. But only half said their top leadership fully display the vision and passion needed to make innovation happen. What is more, less than a quarter of those who believe in the importance of innovation are confident they have defined the skills and actions to be innovative. It is one thing to believe in the importance of innovation. It is an entirely different thing to do something about it.
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So, how to address this innovation conundrum? To answer this question, we looked far and wide. What we found is that innovation leaders have four key qualities.
- Focus on the future. They analyse and anticipate the industry and technology changes occurring, and decide how their organisations need to adapt.
- Design innovation into their organisations. They have a clear definition of what innovation means in their organisation and how it aligns with their goals.
- Create an innovation culture. They articulate a vision that embraces innovation and ensure practices – like embracing failure – match the vision.
- Build a network for innovation. They build partnerships that help them unlock new ways of thinking and doing to achieve their goals.
These leaders are overcoming a myriad of obstacles to make innovation work for their organisations. Our report is similar - beyond just presenting information on what leaders do, our report introduces examples of how they do it. That is to say, how they have successfully navigated the potential pitfalls and realised strong results.
Despite the difficulty our respondents attribute to driving innovation, I am confident that through understanding how the innovation leaders are approaching the opportunity, all organisations can use innovation to achieve outstanding results.
Happy reading, and do get in touch and let us know how it goes!