Only a small number of companies are known for continually producing fresh thinking, and fewer still engage multiple business divisions from within the company to develop innovative ideas, according to a new study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit for Oracle.
For instance, only 19% of surveyed senior executives worldwide say their information technology (IT) teams are involved in bringing innovative ideas to market.
Senior executives are far more likely to cite product development (47%), marketing (45%), and research and development (44%) as the teams involved in bringing innovative ideas to market.
One in four (25%) senior executives say sales teams are involved in cultivating innovation within the organization, while 24% say customer service teams are involved in such efforts.
Below, additional findings from the study titled "Cultivating Business-led Innovation," (PDF) conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit for Oracle.
IT's Role in Business-Led Innovation
IT departments tend to play a supporting role in business-led innovation. Senior executives cite the following as the most important roles performed by IT to cultivate innovation:
- Supplying technologies (e.g., mobile, cloud computing) that foster the innovation process: 51%
- Enabling business units to adapt to processes rapidly: 39%
- Implementing and maintaining new business ideas related to business processes: 28%
- Educating business leaders on new technology trends: 19%
- Identifying pockets of innovation in the enterprise: 11%
- IT has no role in business innovation: 13%
Harnessing Technology for Innovation
The survey also asked senior executives about their companies' investment in four key technologies: Cloud computing, social media, mobile, and big data.
Senior executives appear to favor big data for developing new pricing models (60%), developing new products or services (38%), and improving business processes (38%).
However, senior executives favor social media as the emerging technology with the most potential to add value for developing new channels and improving customer experience (43%).
Gathering Customer-Related Insights
Senior executives understand the importance of involving customers in innovation cycles:
- 54% actively collect customer feedback and analyze customer data for clues to innovate effectively.
- 53% analyze customer data for trends.
- 29% mine social media for customer ideas.
Mindset Against Failure
Interestingly, few organizations appear to be learning from their mistakes.
Nearly one-half (49%) of senior executives say their organization does not have a program to re-examine failed ideas, and another 13% don't know whether such a program exists.
Those companies that do have a system to address setbacks (38%) vary their methods to re-examine failed ideas. As part of the review process, executives say they often restate the problem (35%), readjust project timelines (24%), and expand the amount of data (24%) leveraged in the innovation.
About the data: Findings are based on a survey of 226 senior executives worldwide, conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Oracle in April 2012.