Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What Makes a Company Innovative?

It’s not what you think. Innovation today is such an overused word, and often ill-defined, that we thought it was important to ask today's innovation practioners what they thought it took for their company to be 'innovative.'

More than creativity, the #1 thing that makes a company innovative is a climate that continuously fosters innovation. This is a shift in thinking from popular belief.

While most people view innovation predominantly as a creative exercise, results from futurethink's 2006 Innovation Tracker show that in order to be creative you have to have the right environment to do it. “Just tasking a team to ‘be creative’ won’t get you to be innovative,” says Steve Brown, VP of innovation for KitchenAid. “It’s having a corporate climate that gives people the space to experiment and take risks. Only then can you truly sustain it.”

So what makes a company innovative? Here are the results from the futurethink 2006 Innovation Tracker Survey:
  1. Ability to create a climate that continuously fosters innovation
  2. Creative thinkers
  3. Excellent products/services design
  4. Strong leadership
  5. Breakthrough ideas
  6. Ability to generate business building ideas
  7. Constant product/service improvement
  8. Ability to define process that helps identify the most innovation ideas
  9. Having a clear innovation strategy that generates real results
  10. A perceived WOW factor
  11. Excellent PR and marketing
  12. New products/services represents healthy % of revenue
  13. Powerful brand name
What do you think makes a company innovative?

(full 2006 Tracker Survey is available at