Over-commitment on projects, lack of leadership, and absence of process are leading to an innovation gap.
Cloud company Oracle has released a report showing that companies are failing to realize more than half of the innovations they propose. Despite a clear link between growth and innovation, organizations are being held back by poor processes and a lack of focus. The report showed that innovation barriers were particularly pronounced amongst big companies, as well as companies experiencing higher growth rates.
The report, “Having a successful innovation agenda,” is based on a survey of 5,000+ decision makers in cloud solutions and software. The respondents represented companies across 24 markets, generating revenues between less than £1 million to more than £500 million and workforces of 100 to 50,000 employees.
-One-third of companies are overwhelmed by too many innovation projects
-85% of companies experiencing strong to significant growth are investing in innovation
-21% say lack of commitment from business is a major barrier to innovation
-22% say lack of process is hampering their innovation efforts, while 22% blame a lack of vision
-22% say that an underinvestment in technology is holding back their innovation program
Not enough focus and structure
Over-commitment is preventing companies from bringing their innovation initiatives to life, with one third admitting to being overwhelmed by too many projects. The issue was particularly evident in high-growth companies, with 38% reporting an excess of parallel initiatives.
Despite ambitions to embed processes that encourage innovation, 22% of organizations said that the ideal workflows had not yet been properly implemented. Meanwhile, 19% of companies said they were being held back by a lack of suitable technology.
Lack of leadership
Insufficient commitment from the business, coupled with a lack of clear ownership, were shown to be key barriers to a company’s success in innovation. Executives (48%) and IT (46%) were identified as common owners of the innovation topic, but other functions were identified as owners in near-equal proportions (35-41%).
Customer engagement as an indicator of success
Organizations are moving away from traditional KPIs of employee productivity (53%) and revenue (53%), and increasingly looking towards customer experience (57%) as a measurement of ROI. However, this shift is drawing attention away from employee engagement, with only 44% looking at organization pipeline as an innovation lever, and only 41% considering company culture.
“Employees will always be a critical factor in any innovation program – both coming up with new ideas that address real problems and seeing them through to fruition,” says Neil Sholay, Vice president of Innovation, Oracle. “But they need an effective and supporting culture of innovation to be successful. This starts with a clear vision from leaders and the prioritization and funding of chosen projects. Being innovative isn’t just about ideas, it’s about execution.”
“Companies must be able to meet changing customer demands by acting on ideas quickly. Take Melia Hotels International, it recognized its customers wanted a getaway where they didn’t need to carry around cash, IDs, credit cards, and keys. It quickly launched a personal passport in the form of a bracelet, giving guests a whole new level of freedom to seamlessly travel around the hotel. The concept went from idea to innovation in a matter of weeks because the chain had technology behind it that was ready-to-work, ready-to-build and ready-to-go.”