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


Blogger Erin J. Easter said...

I am an information technology professional as well as a student in an MBA program, and I am currently working on a group research project on factors affecting innovation in the corporate environment.

Would you consider taking our survey? It takes less than 10 minutes and is available through our group's blog at Results will be posted there in late April if you are interested in learning more about our findings. Thank you.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Chong Kai said...

Sure, glad to help. Will be most interested in the results as I am currently working on boosting innovation in the my organisation. If you are willing to share the results, it will be most insightful.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Jacob Varghese said...

It is important to make a distinction between being inventive & being innovative. Invention is a new device, method, or process. Innovation happens when an invention meets a market opportunity.

Large corporate R&D departments are most likely to get this distinction between invention & innovation wrong (Check out

1:20 PM  
Blogger Lawrence Rosier said...

This is an excellent article which echos my recommendations in government reform. My article blog is: Management Consulting Forum at:
My Ebooks are at Http:// and my be downloaded free of charge.
One of my ebooks deals entirely with management reform to get inovation in government.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would say that creativity and be different that what others are doing is innovated. Always think different brings us to innovation. Armand Rousso

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am with you Armand Rousso, creativity is the key to success in this economy.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In contrast to previous commenters I think that creativity is part of the key to success. Looking at the innovation process creativity is only the first phase, and for quite a few firms also not the most difficult one. This is something I have experienced in my profession as a management consultant, specialized in Business Innovation. Designing a new product or service is already more challenging for firms. Executing, putting something new in the market, it gives the most problems. One of the reasons fot this is lack of a sound business model which is aligned with the innovation. Sometimes even the business model itself needs to be innovated.
I share my thoughts on this topic on

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Innovation is the key. Think of something no one has. Medical reform is what is needed in todays society.

7:39 PM  

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