Going Beyond Innovation

The third Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM)/IFOP Innovation Barometer confirms the solid position of innovation in company development. While the need to preach the value of innovation has diminished, new challenges emerge. Whether it's to ensure innovative projects lead to concrete benefits or implementing innovation as a company-wide policy, overcoming these challenges is a key part of staying a step ahead of the competition.

A mature innovative process

With 76% of leaders aware of the competitive importance of innovation and actively committing resources towards this goal, the third GEM/IFOP barometer highlights the stable position of innovation in company development. The accepted steps of the innovative process have become commonplace and overall innovation is considered less important than productivity and quality. "This is a positive situation as it highlights the fact that innovation is perceived as a means and not simply an end goal." explains Sylvie Blanco, head of GEM Management of Technology and Innovation Valorization.

Managing innovation for success

The fact that the innovative process is widely accepted does not necessarily equate to companies achieving a strong market impact that differentiates them from their competitors. Sylvie Blanco explains that "this mechanism is neither flexible nor fast enough to valorize a continuous flow of new ideas, a fact that limits ROI and a company's leadership position."

This latest barometer exposes two barriers to success: converting innovative projects to concrete results and spreading the innovative process throughout a company. According to the study, reaping the benefits of innovation is contingent on creating an ecosystem that accelerates the development process. Interestingly, sales and marketing surpass R&D and development as the key managerial skills to develop for successful innovation. "In fact all aspects of management play an important role. Management Innovation will be a determining factor in a company's ability to innovate quickly and distinguish itself on the market." adds Sylvie Blanco.

Sustaining innovation vs. disruptive innovation

The nature of innovation is another interesting question for the future. On one hand, innovation is viewed by 72 % of leaders as a vector for expanding a company's skills in pre-established fields of expertise. On the other hand, only a third of managers consider the disruptive capacity of innovation to be important for their company. This contrast highlights that while innovation is widely accepted, its strategic value for disruptive change is not yet fully appreciated.

Overall the consensus of managers has confirmed innovation's role as a key process in company development. Yet, the capacity to go beyond established innovative processes is the key to staying ahead in today's competitive markets.