3 methods for companies to gasoline innovation and drive efficiency


Over the previous two years, companies have skilled unprecedented operational disruptions and market uncertainties as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Accordingly, many enterprise executives are prioritizing innovation to reinforce competitiveness and efficiency in 2022. That is simpler mentioned than performed, because the record of supposedly important revolutionary practices is in depth and rising.

For instance, current analysis exhibits that revolutionary corporations, in comparison with their non-innovative counterparts, have interaction in lots of extremely touted finest practices. Whereas these practices can improve competitiveness, some are extra vital than others, and implementing them within the absence of a method is extremely problematic.

As a advertising and innovation administration researcher, I discovered these complexities led me to 2 analysis questions. First, what sort of organizational tradition finest helps implementing these revolutionary practices? And second, which of those practices universally improve agency efficiency?

C. Brooke Dobni and I investigated these points in our forthcoming article in Analysis-Know-how Administration, an innovation administration journal.

World innovation examine

In co-operation with nationwide convention boards in the US, Europe and Asia (non-profit organizations that assist analysis aimed toward serving to leaders deal with societal challenges), we collected information from 437 corporations, throughout 11 industries, in 27 international locations.

Our findings confirmed that an innovation-focused tradition was required to efficiently implement crowd-sourcing, stage-gate methods, design pondering, open innovation, massive information analytics, innovation administration software program, scientific discovery and prototyping. Nevertheless, solely a few of the these practices enhanced firm efficiency.

Learn extra:
How companies can decide if design pondering is correct for them

Corporations with robust innovation cultures have leaders that assist innovating, dedicate assets to experimentation, pursue data era and dissemination and have processes to check and launch concepts. Excessive innovators are capable of execute technique, create aggressive benefits and obtain efficiency aims.

We discovered that extremely revolutionary individuals had been higher at implementing the entire innovation practices. We additionally discovered that throughout industries, corporations with robust innovation cultures outperformed their counterparts with no comparable tradition. Given its efficiency advantages, how does one create an innovation-focused tradition?

A woman stands at the head of a table in a meeting room with white walls and a window behind her talking to her team.
Corporations with robust innovation cultures do higher than opponents that don’t foster innovation.

Earlier perception from Fortune 1000 corporations means that executives must set innovation objectives, encourage all staff to innovate of their roles, prioritize particular person and organizational studying, take away detrimental penalties associated to failed experimentation and assist actions with incentives.

Primarily based on the outcomes of our examine, we argue that an innovation-focused tradition is the mandatory first step. Solely after corporations have created a supporting setting can they try and implement any revolutionary practices.

Efficiency-enhancing innovation

Corporations in all industries skilled the performance-enhancing advantages from crowd-sourcing, open innovation, innovation administration software program, scientific discovery and prototyping:

We advocate corporations discover implementing these revolutionary practices since they’ve common efficiency advantages. But it surely’s vital to reiterate that engagement in such practices must be guided by the group’s technique, and an innovation-focused tradition is the mandatory first step.

Much less profitable revolutionary practices

Though there’s quite a lot of hype about stage-gate methods, design pondering and massive information analytics, our analysis exhibits that solely corporations in particular industries profit from these practices.

Stage-gate methods are a linear course of involving a collection of sequential steps aimed toward launching new merchandise. We argue that the innovation course of is something however linear, and such a inflexible course of isn’t conducive for many industries.

Our information confirms that stage-gate methods are only in manufacturing, IT and health-care settings however not in any others.

Design pondering, an method that makes use of a designer’s sensibility and strategies to match client wants with what’s technologically possible, is nebulous and even imprecise amongst those that practise it.

We argue that design pondering’s ambiguity is the rationale why solely corporations within the arts and leisure, retail and advertising industries skilled its advantages.

Learn extra:
Why designers have arrived in company boardrooms

Surprisingly, massive information analytics — assortment, interpretation, and decision-making primarily based on giant datasets — solely benefited corporations in some industries. Upon nearer examination, we discovered that solely corporations in industries which have conventionally managed and interpreted giant quantities of knowledge (like finance, well being care and IT) realized such worth. We predict this speaks extra to some corporations’ incapability to handle massive information versus its worth.

Managerial suggestions

We provide 3 ways managers can gasoline and foster innovation primarily based on our analysis:

  1. All executives ought to search to create an innovation-focused tradition.

  2. After an innovation tradition is established, corporations ought to have interaction strategically in a few of the universally useful practices.

  3. Some practices needs to be averted all collectively, as their advantages are restricted to particular industries.


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