November 1, 2018

Companies should pursue innovation…but are they?


CB Insights recently conducted a survey of 677 corporate leaders to get their take on the subject of innovation.

A few themes emerged from the report:

#1 – The highest-performing companies take more risks than “moderate” or “low” performers, and they’re five times more likely to “build a culture of innovation across every business function.” High performers are also generally more likely to trust their ability to succeed across several “phases of innovation,” but their overall level of confidence is still limited.

#2 – There’s plenty of inconsistency in the way companies approach innovation. While almost 85 percent of respondents say innovation is “very important,” only 32 percent of high performers rate their relative level of innovation “very high” over the past year. This proportion falls to 12 percent for moderate performers and 3 percent for low performers. What’s more, 57 percent of companies have no formal innovation process and 78 percent focus on incremental changes (despite the fact that the top performers are more disruptive).

#3 –  Even though 41 percent of corporate leaders say their companies are “extremely” or “very” at risk for disruption (a proportion that doubles when you add those who are “moderately” concerned), innovation takes place slowly. Sixty percent of respondents say it takes a year or more to launch a new product, and even top performers only invest in disruptive technologies 28 percent of the time.

Companies should constantly and consciously pursue innovation, but the evidence suggests that many of them are neglecting to do so. This report should be a reminder that they’re often aware of this gap, but unwilling to do anything to close it.

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