Innovation 2010 is the title of a report published by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in April regarding the state of Innovation globally. There are a number of conclusions that can be drawn, but it is heartening to see that after a cautious 2009, companies are committing once more to pursuing Innovation during 2010.
Innovation is now a top three priority for 72% of respondents to the BCG survey, the highest figure since the survey was first introduced seven years ago. In addition, 84% of respondents consider Innovation an important or extremely important lever for reaping the benefits of an economic recovery. Companies are backing up their statements with hard cash too as 61% of companies plan to boost spending on Innovation and 26% plan to increase spending by more than 10%.
Executives cite the following as the major factors that are reducing the return on their Innovation spend:
- Risk averse corporate culture
- Lengthy product development cycles
- Poor Innovation measurement
For a while we have been saying that there is the possibility of a new world order in Innovation and survey respondents also echoed this. Although Apple and Google top the list of most innovative companies less than half of those surveyed believe that US companies will remain the most innovative over the next 5 years.
If we look at the first-time entrants to the most innovative list, all but one come from outside the US. One topical observation relates to the energy sector. Here BP rank number one and Exxon Mobil rank number four!
So what are the implications for senior executives this year?
- Improving your innovation efforts this year are key. You have survived the recession, you must now beat the others that have done so.
- If you don’t show a decent return on your innovation programme then someone will cut back on your funding eventually or find someone who can improve return.
- Your top team needs to be more ‘holistic’, embracing rather than merely supporting Innovation.
- You must keep looking over your shoulder. You might have a head start if you are based in a developing country but there are others who can run faster.