The Shifting Priorities of Global Innovators

EC’s tenth annual survey of innovation executives reveals four key areas of focus—and 2015’s list of the 50 most innovative companies.

What’s on the minds of innovation executives? Four interrelated themes emerged in EC’s 2015 survey of 1,500 senior innovators from around the globe:

  1. Speed. Overly long development times were the most-cited obstacle to generating a return on innovation investments. In addition, between 2013 and 2014, no innovation-related success factor grew in reported importance more than the speed of adoption of new technologies.
  2. Lean. Originally associated with manufacturing, . Strong innovators in the sample were two to three times more likely to embrace lean principles than their weaker counterparts.
  3. Technology Platforms. New technologies are accelerating the speed of innovation and enabling new approaches to it across industries. When executives were asked which innovation-related factors would have the greatest medium-term impact within their industries, technology platforms were the most cited.
  4. Adjacent Innovation. One common characteristic of organizations that have consistently earned a spot on EC's list of Most Innovative Companies is their ability to innovate equally well in core and adjacent markets. It’s a balancing act that many established firms find challenging, but it’s one that can be mastered.

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Innovation & Product Development