Innovation has long been thought of as critical for sustaining business growth. Well, recognition of this long held belief has now been confirmed by a new global study undertaken by management consultants, Capgemini, entitled Collaborating for Innovation.
The report states that participants across all industries unanimously agreed that innovation initiatives are vital to the growth and sustainability of their businesses. In particular, the survey emphasises the importance of innovative means of improving internal and external collaboration in delivering long-term competitive advantage.
When it comes to launching new products there appears to be greater executive level support for innovation. However, over half of respondents focus on the improvement of existing products compared with only 24 per cent that focus on developing innovative new products. It would seem then that senior management is keen to support innovation, perhaps more so than we think.
Measuring innovation processes is something that most organisations are fairly limited at. Whereas the majority of companies have the ability to track innovation efforts through sales, few measure other process-based performance such as the time it takes to develop new products and services.
The report highlights the need for companies to involve customers in the innovation process, revealing a strong link between companies’ abilities to generate new product and service ideas and the strength of their customer collaboration initiatives. However, the report’s finding that, “failure to meet customer needs is the single biggest cause of new product launch failure” can hardly be thought of as a revelation.
Clearly, innovation is the life-blood of any dynamic organisation that intends to remain commercially competitive. Finding ways to encourage innovation and track its success is the difficult bit – determining what’s a good idea and what isn’t is even harder. But one particular valuable insight that this Capgemini report offers is the apparent level of executive support for innovative new product launches.