Innovation, Not Enhancement

In July, the Innovation Exchange at the London Business School released the 2003 Innovation Management Survey, a 22-page report that studies best practices companies use to balance innovation and incremental improvements. Among the report’s key findings:

  • Innovations, not enhancements are the key to the future.
  • Enhancements are more certain, whereas less than 20% of innovations are market successes.
  • Innovations account for 10% of revenue.
  • The lack of a structured process for innovation might cause poor performance.
  • The three greatest challenges to improving innovation are the lack of entrepreneurial skills, the ability to manage and mitigate risk, and resource constraints.
  • Company size doesn’t matter.

While most companies are good at incremental enhancements, it is the innovations — new products and services — that will really improve an organization’s prospects. Even in tougher times when resources are more restricted, it doesn’t always pay to play it safe. Go big or go home.