PwC's Innovation Benchmark Report

Reinventing innovation: Five findings to guide strategy through execution

In a global study of over 1,200 companies, executives told us their businesses are collaborating with a broader set of stakeholders to reap greater rewards from their innovation efforts.

In a world where industry disruption is increasingly the norm, not an anomaly, virtually no company can ignore the imperative to innovate. Failing to do so is an invitation to lose business.

To learn how companies are responding to this mandate, we surveyed over 1,200 executives in 44 countries, asking them about their innovation strategy, operating models, culture, metrics, and more to understand how innovating companies are seeking to create business value and financial returns on their efforts. 

The majority of respondents clearly think that bringing more parties into the innovation sandbox is a smart idea. It can deliver significant benefits, from improving innovation’s alignment with business strategy, to accessing fresh ideas and critical talent, to failing faster and getting new innovations to market sooner.  

Key Innovation Benchmark findings

Strategy, not size, matters in innovation spend

More-inclusive approaches to innovation are helping companies meet the dual goals of revenue growth and cost containment. That's good news, since at the end of the day, the business benefit delivered by innovation really does have to be a financial one.

From blind bets to viable business models

Innovation spending ultimately has to drive business value and financial performance. But for that to happen in a consistent way, innovators must understand and help define future business models that can support the innovations they create.

Silo-busting innovation models

The days when innovation was mainly a sequestered process are decidedly gone. Companies are seeking the right mix of employees, customers, technology partners, and other contributors to push their thinking in novel directions, leading to innovative ideas and solutions.

The X factor? Human experience

Innovation leaders are pulling people into the innovation process at the front end rather than simply pushing innovation out to them at the back end. They’re casting a broad net while they’re at it, seeking experience-honed insights from frontline employees, customers, partners, suppliers and more.

Tech innovation leader or follower?

Today, technology-led initiatives comprise a significant part of the innovation mix at businesses across numerous industries, not just at companies in the technology sector. These businesses tend to think big, setting their sights on breakthrough innovations that will satisfy unmet needs and create new markets.

“Since we partner closely with entrepreneurs, we really understand how they are doing it. We sometimes walk out of those meetings and go, ‘Wow, that was really creative.’ Well, why not us? Why not be able to experiment within the corporate realm? I think part of our responsibility is to be bold and do just that.”

Sue SiegelCEO, GE Ventures

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Branton  Cole

Branton Cole

Director, PwC United States

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