New report from Accenture. Despite increasing commitment, funding and organizational accountability, many companies are disappointed by the returns they are deriving from their investments.

Accenture recently sought to identify the state of innovation by surveying 519 executives (vice presidents, directors, managers) at large U.S., U.K., and French organizations with revenues greater than $100 million. They represented a wide
spectrum of sectors.

According to the report, Innovation is not working out the way many companies expected. Despite increasing commitment, funding and organizational accountability, many companies are disappointed by the returns they are deriving from their investments. Correspondingly, they are scaling back expectations. Instead of the disruptive products, services, and business models that were anticipated several years ago, many initiatives have become considerably more limited in scope. Rather than offering “the next big thing,” innovations coming to market today are more typically line extensions.

They report that the first challenge is a conservative approach itself, focusing on individual line extension renovation rather than developing a broader portfolio that also includes bold, big ideas.
The second challenge is the “invention” trap. By this Accenture means over-reliance on the invention process itself to produce success and relative lack of systematic, enterprise-wide processes capable of commercializing inventions into products or services at scale, bringing them to market in a sufficiently timely fashion and reaping the expected returns.
What can companies do to improve disappointing performance and overcome the obstacles to innovation according to the Accenture report?
Those organizations that have a holistic, formal system in place for innovation, consistently report better outcomes and higher levels of satisfaction from their innovation investment. For example, in terms of “initial idea generation,” 43
percent of the companies with such systems in place report they are very satisfied in contrast to 24 percent with only an informal system.
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