Why Innovation Is All About Many Small Steps

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 02-22-2016 Email

While the vast majority of senior executives agree that innovation is an important organizational quality that helps them achieve goals, very few companies actually gain significant business benefits from innovation, according to a recent survey from Ricoh. Tech resources play a big role here, especially those addressing unified communications, business process workflows, enterprise collaboration and big data/analytics. However, innovation is about corporate culture—probably even more so than tech. And survey findings reveal that there are huge gaps with respect to what innovation "leader" and "laggard" companies do. For starters, leaders are far more likely to allocate budgeting to "blue sky" projects, or research into potential opportunities outside of current products or offerings. It also helps to approach innovation as a "bottom up" process, as opposed to "top down," findings reveal. "(There is) a strong link between innovative practices and better business outcomes, with innovation leaders having a clear advantage over laggards on multiple key performance indicators," according to the report. "But innovation is not quick, and it is not easy. Companies should focus not only on new products and new markets but also on applying innovation across their entire organization … Doing so will require re-examining and optimizing existing processes as well as investments in a broad range of technology tools to support the innovation process." More than 1,630 global executives at the director level or higher took part in the research, which was conducted by IDC.

Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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