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Innovation remains key for executives

07.18.2013
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Innovation is one of those areas where it seems unlikely that any business will admit to not having it as a priority, so it perhaps isn’t that surprising that a new study by PwC has highlighted the value placed on being innovative by top bosses around the world.

What is interesting however is how leaders see their own role in driving this innovation agenda.  It revealed that modern executives feel the need to be more directly involved in the innovation process.  It literally is too important for them to take a back seat approach, with 37% of respondees reporting that the lead on innovation personally, with a further 34% regarding themselves as visionaries.  A similar study by PwC three years ago revealed that just 12% of leaders regarded innovation as something they needed to lead on.

The driving power of the web

Central to this shift in focus is the web itself.  The transformational nature of the web to the competitive environment firms operate in is forcing leaders to take a more hands on role with innovation.  The rapid change of areas such as social media, big data and mobile devices have massively changed how consumers behave and the expectations they have of companies.  Thus it’s often the case that incremental improvements to product lines is no longer enough in a world where new sources of revenue emerge on a frequent basis.

Central to the new role taken on by executives was creating the right culture within their companies to support and encourage innovation.  Executives also revealed that being a visionary was important in helping encourage that kind of culture.  With 41% of executives reporting that the company culture was the main obstacle to being innovative, this was clearly perceived as an issue of the utmost importance.  Related areas, such as the capacity for creativity, willingness to collaborate with customers and readiness to challenge accepted norms were also high on the list.

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