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UK companies failing to capitalise on innovation


Successful innovators were more open to accepting novel ideas and rewarding staff for innvoation

Business leaders believe UK companies are failing to capitalise on innovation, according to research from PA Consulting Group.

The Innovation Matters report, which surveyed 821 senior business leaders, found that only 28% thought their firms were innovating successfully, despite-two thirds (66%) citing innovation as crucial to survival.

Of those based in the UK, two-fifths (40%) said that they reject disruptive ideas for fear of failure, and only 39% of executives were confident their business has defined the skills it needs to be innovative.

Organisations the report found to be successful innovators (defined as those seeing a substantial increase in revenue and growth as a direct result of their innovation activity), were significantly more likely to reward employees for innovation (81% versus 69%).

Successful innovators were also likely to be more open to accepting novel ideas, with the majority sourcing ideas for innovation from outside the organisation (61% versus 52% of unsuccessful firms), and have executive and leadership teams with a diverse range of skills and professional backgrounds (78% versus 66% of unsuccessful businesses).

Frazer Bennett, chief innovation officer at PA Consulting Group, said he hopes employers find ways to address the “innovation conundrum”.

“We’ve found that innovation leaders design innovation into the heart of their business, use agile techniques right across their business, and are quicker to kill off ‘zombie’ projects [projects that are going nowhere],” he said. “They have strong external networks and foster a culture that learns from innovation failures, as well as recognising success. We’re optimistic that organisations can address the innovation conundrum and get better at employing innovative practices. This will help companies all around the world set themselves up for future health.

“As we face the uncertainties of a post-Brexit world it is frustrating to see many companies not yet taking advantage of the opportunities that offer potential for growth. The good news is that there are clearly identifiable steps for success; a set of tried and tested behaviours that are consistently displayed by those organisations who do succeed at innovation.”