When it Comes to Innovation Strategy, We’re All Below Average

With apologies to Garrison Keillor and Lake Wobegon where ‘all the children are above average’, when it comes to innovation strategy, it’s safe to say ‘we are all below average’. An explanation is in order.

A survey of innovation experts (leaders and team members of innovation groups) at 55 large companies was conducted in June 2016. They were asked a series of questions about how well they thought their company created and implemented a comprehensive innovation strategy. The average result on every one of the seven dimensions surveyed was less than zero.

This result can be seen in the chart below. The chart shows the average of all 55 respondents on each of the seven innovation strategy dimensions measured. It also shows the best-in-class result (i.e. the scoring of the one respondent who rated their company highest in that particular dimension). In this chart, the ‘zero-point’ represents an answer of ‘neither agree or disagree’ to the questions posed.

Summary of the results from an innovation strategy survey of 55 companies

Summary of the results from an innovation
strategy survey of 55 companies

One interesting result is that, when averaging across all responses, in every dimension measured, companies are slightly negative about the state of their current innovation strategy and its sufficiency to achieve the company’s vision. On each dimension, however, there were one or more companies who felt that they were excellent in that area. Conversely, no company surveyed felt that it was excellent across all of the dimensions.

The following is a sample (out of a total of 54) that shows the types of questions asked in this survey:

  1. Our company’s leadership understands innovation well.
  2. We have an explicit plan for advancing our corporate innovation culture.
  3. We know how our innovation processes compare to our peers.
  4. Our innovation processes are sufficient to achieve our company’s vision.
  5. Our innovation metrics directly affect how we improve our innovation system.

If you would like to take the survey, please click on the button below. This will let you take the publicly available survey and receive an evaluation of the results that show where you are in relation to the other companies who have taken the survey (over 75 companies and counting).

Click here to take an Innovation Strategy Assessment

In addition to your company’s ranking, you will receive specific insights, like the following sample:

  • The domains you explore for innovative opportunities are pretty well defined. But it’s unclear how updates to these domains are managed or when they happen.
  • You know what your core is but are not aligned on how you should expand from it into new areas.
  • You do measure innovation performance, but it doesn’t have much effect on changing the system.

This publicly available survey is a condensed version of a more comprehensive Innovation Maturity Assessment. In the full version of the assessment, a more detailed survey is given to a number of people across your organization. A series of internal interviews are also conducted. The results not only show a clear picture of your company’s innovation maturity level, but how your innovation system stacks up against other companies and the specific areas where improvements can be made.

If you are interested in discussing how to get a full Innovation Maturity Assessment, please contact us by clicking the button below:

Find out more about a comprehensive Innovation Maturity Assessment


Selected Readings

The Thing with Tools and Culture of Innovation

The hope that there is a secret formula for innovation leads us to seek quick-fix tools when it is the culture that needs work.

Original article | Read our short take

Venture capital is abundant; opportunity is scarce

A conversation with Marc Andreessen and Clayton Christensen in which they discuss disruption of the Venture Capital ‘formula’ and how disruptive companies struggle when they mature.

Original article | Read our short take

Is Innovation Really Everyone’s Job?

Michael Perman, former Gap executive, skewers two common innovation tropes – ‘it’s everyone’s job’ and ‘fail fast and often’

Original article | Read our short take