Setting yourself apart through Innovation

the-path-to-successBreaking News: “Over the past 15 years, a portfolio of stocks based on the Innovation Leaders analysis has repeatedly outperformed all major indexes. Average return has been 14.5% CAGR and in 2016, growth was 18.9% – significantly higher than S&P500, NASDAQ and FTSE 100.

Year after year, this analysis has proven that those firms identified as being the most effective innovators consistently outperform their peers and the market.”

Now is that surprising?

It should not be but sadly for the vast majority of companies that do not treat innovation as seriously as they should, as the growth enabler, it keeps them in a constantly lagging position. It tells a very powerful message, one of investing in innovation seriously and in sustaining levels, you can grow well above others.

Points from this research

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Mapping the customer journey is the top driver for digital transformation

mapping-the-customer-journeyOrganizations are struggling to understand the behaviors of the ‘connected’ customer. Partly it seems executives don’t engage with their brand or business in the way that their customers do. There is often a difference in understanding the value creating points between them

The lack of having a well mapped out customer journey means missing out on opportunities caused by not knowing this complete set of connections being made into you. By not knowing all these connecting points and drawing them together in a cohesive plan, there is a significant chance you are simply restricting the developing of innovation solutions that map back to all the decision-making that is going on in the customers’ minds.

This failure to optimize and seize upon all the possible options to connect with your customers is restricting your ability to broaden out your innovation solutions, making the journey more value creating, it certainly can be really holding your business back.

As you explore the digital transformation path this can become your best opportunity to connect along the total customer experience and see a greater return on this understanding and investment. Continue reading

Is all investment about the future?

Buy back questionI was reading an article by Doug Collins on the “three wishes for the innovation practitioner for 2015” where he points out “2014 was the year for share buybacks and dividends“.

An article from Bloomberg reports that companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index are “poised to spend $914 billion on share buybacks and dividends this year, or about 95 percent of earnings.”

95% of earnings – Doug rightly says “wow” and offers a thoughtful set of observations

“Every organization that enjoys free cash flow makes a decision on where to allocate that resource. If the opportunity available to the organization meets or exceeds the hurdle rate—the desired, expected rate of return—then, in theory, they invest in that opportunity. If not, then no: the organization returns the cash to the investors. Of course, earnings come after investments the organization makes in innovation—research & development expenses, for example. Many do invest a lot in R&D”

He then remarks “And yet…..and yet” ….

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The role senior executives must fill for innovation success

Executive need to engage for innovation 1Jeffrey Phillips of Ovo Innovation and I wrote a White Paper, we called our foundation document, on “Accelerating or inhibiting innovation – understand your role for innovation success”. You can read the full paper here

We strongly believe there is a real Innovation leadership gap

My last article “Developing talent to drive innovation” was questioning the spending of new funds on developing talent for innovation, unless the organization and its leadership is not clear on what it is specifically looking for, or how it is prepared to back their words with specific actions beyond ‘just’ new funding levels, then this might not be money well spent.

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Innovation can be so remarkable if we can fully embrace it

What is so remarkable about innovation is that it can be highly dynamic.  It’s a task that anyone could do, given the time, education, clarity of purpose and commitments from our organizations, those that recognize the true understanding of the contribution all their people can potentially make towards innovation.

Today, too few people are actually allowed to work on innovation activities, yet the outcomes are ones that everyone wants, and certainly want to be part of. We all want that sense of belonging, of working on or in something that is exciting, dynamic and forward-looking. We really do need to find ways to allow innovation to be part of each person’s daily jobs. Having a sense of purpose to improve or change something through innovation is such a powerful enabler.

Getting from where we are today, seemingly bogged down in many of the legacies of past innovation understanding, seems to me something we must tackle sooner than later also. There is no time like the present to overhaul the existing innovation thinking and upgrade it with a faster, more focused innovating machine that yields greater returns due to this overhaul .

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