Conversations with Innovators - Part 4

Part 1 – the different models we’ve come across as we talk to corporate innovators.

Part 2 – the themes within successful internal teams.

Part 3 – solving complex challenges, often beyond exploration and including ROI.

In this edition we’re looking at the things that are keeping our innovation clients awake at night…not literally, of course (although quite possibly!), but the areas that provide both challenges and opportunities within the context of their role in their organisation.


The things that keep innovation execs awake at night

1. Staying relevant

  • This is an obvious one…but that’s true for a good reason.
  • The rapid pace of technological change and customer preferences means that companies must continually evolve to remain relevant.
  • Heads of Innovation worry that their company might not keep up with these changes, leading to a loss of market share, customer loyalty, and competitive advantage.

2. ROI on innovation

  • Innovation initiatives require varying levels of investments in terms of time, money, and resources.
  • Our clients are concerned about the potential for these investments not yielding the expected returns, both in terms of financial gains and long-term growth for the company.

3. Lack of resources

  • Innovation requires funding, skilled personnel, and time for research and development.
  • Limited budgets, time constraints, and a shortage of talent could hinder the ability to execute projects effectively, particularly ambitious projects.

4. Resistance to change (internal and externalc

  • Introducing innovation often disrupts established workflows and processes, which can create resistance from employees or stakeholders who are comfortable with the way things are done currently, leading to challenges in implementing new ideas.

5. Market disruption

  • The rise of competitors that introduce new technologies or business models is a significant concern.
  • Heads of Innovation worry that their company could be caught off guard by these changes, impacting their market position and revenue.

6. Short term focus

  • Companies face pressure to deliver results, particularly in downturn times like we are in now, which can divert resources and attention away from longer-term innovation initiatives.
  • Striking the right balance between short-term goals and strategic innovation is an ongoing challenge.

7. Intellectual property and security

  • Developing new intellectual property and protecting this IP can be a concern.
  • There’s also the worry of ensuring data security and preventing breaches as new technologies are integrated.

8. Cultural shift

  • Cultivating a culture of innovation across the organization is important to most of our clients.
  • However, changing a company’s culture is a significant challenge, needing to overcome resistance to change and foster a mindset of creativity and experimentation.

9. The global economy

  • Economic downturns or uncertain market conditions can (and are) impact innovation budgets.
  • Heads of Innovation might worry that economic instability could limit the company’s ability to invest in and take risks on new ventures.