- Less than one-quarter of organizations "qualify" as innovation leaders, according to a Harvard Business Review Services survey of more than 1,000 executives across industries 1,000 international consumers. The research was commissioned by Mastercard.
- Betting on risk and "exploration" are characteristics of innovation leaders. More than 40% of leaders pursue "moonshot" projects, which are considered "ambitious, exploratory [and] groundbreaking."
- The majority of leaders, 97%, say they are quick to present the market with new ideas, according to the survey. Only 17% of laggards say the same.
Strapped with just about any nameable dilemma, including strained budgets, limited staff and a to-do list designed to keep the Wi-Fi on, CIOs have to get creative in order to innovate. It is easier said than done.
Harvard Business Review named speed as one of the greatest components of an innovative company. Companies that operate in sprints, unburdened by three to five year time frames, are likely to get ahead of competitors.
Those who are able to prioritize innovation increased their revenue by 20% or more in the last two years, according to the survey. Laggards only saw a 14% increase in revenue.
Taking a financial hit as an economic downturn looms will further impede the ability to invest in innovation, a time when tech investments are encouraged.
Killing innovative initiatives in fear of an impending recession is a form of "corporate suicide," even if boards are wary of a slow return on investment. Panera Bread, for example, began ramping up tech investments in 2010, as businesses were still recovering from the Great Recession of 2008.
The investments, championed by then-CEO Ron Schaich, were slow to show their value, resulting in Schaich's short-lived exit from the company, before returning as CEO in 2012.
What Panera did was contrary to the tech strategies of its peers at the time. Ultimately, the aggressive innovation paid off, and it proved its ROI by 2012.