Cracking the Code oEective Innovation
Turn innovation into actionFuture Think LLC
© 2005–07 Reproduction prohibitedNew York NY
Innovation: A Buzzword that’s Broken
There seem to be two dierent and contradictory acets in the world o innovation today. On one hand,innovation has become the latest buzzword in corporate circles. Business publications scream about thelatest innovation in their headlines, the calendar is chock-ull o conerences that showcase “best prac-tices,” and a plethora o gurus litter the speaking circuit singing its praises.There is, however, a darker side to innovation. Just turn to the vast majority o organizations that arestruggling to make innovation work. Listen to rontline managers who are being asked to innovate by theirbosses and have no idea where to start. Just drop in at an organization where there’s palpable atigueater numerous brainstorms have gone nowhere. The reality is that innovation eorts are impotent in mostorganizations.
What Separates Successul Innovators rom the Rest o the Pack?
There are a ew rms that have made innovation a true discipline. Companies like Google, Apple, Whirl-pool, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble, among others, have demonstrated that there is a way tomake innovation an integral part o how one does business. What do these companies do so dierentlyrom the vast sea o mediocrity and ailed innovation eorts? What organizational capabilities do they pos-sess that are so dierent rom the rest?To help answer these questions, we conducted an online survey over an eight–month period. 248 execu-tives rom a cross–section o businesses around the world rated their organizations along the our capabil-ities essential to innovation: Ideas, Strategy, Process and Climate (see appendix or details). Respondentsanswered 20 questions in this diagnostic, broken down by each o the our capabilities, to help identiytheir organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Each answer was assigned a specic score and the nalscore indicated the innovation capabilities o each organization. We also asked respondents to indicatetheir sector and size o their organizations.This report outlines the key ndings rom our survey. It provides a number o implications or organiza-tions trying to tackle innovation today. For organizations that wish to be successul, it oers a rameworkto break down the “black box” o innovation into discrete and manageable tasks. It also provides cues onhow organizations may better innovate by looking at how they’re currently structured.