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Executive Education

Unleashing the power of innovation

64% of CEOs say innovation and operational effectiveness are equally important to the success of their company, according to PwC report.

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Drawing on a survey of 246 CEOs from around the world, the report explores the changing role and nature of innovation in today’s businesses. To determine how innovation is evolving, PwC compared the findings to a similar study they carried out in 2009.

What emerges from the latest survey is that CEOs are now taking personal responsibility for directing and inspiring innovation as it becomes an increasingly vital element of business survival and success. How companies innovate is also being transformed. Companies might once have been satisfied with incremental product improvements. Now, they’re increasingly looking for breakthrough developments in their business models and the solutions they provide for customers.

Almost all the CEOs who took part in the survey recognize the value of innovation for their companies, with most seeing it as a top priority. This represents a major change from the survey in 2009. Back then, sharpening operational effectiveness was the overriding objective as companies sought to survive the sudden loss of revenue caused by the financial crisis. Now, 64% of CEOs regard innovation as at least equally important to operational effectiveness.

A constantly evolving business environment 

Innovation’s rise up the CEO agenda reflects the changing business environment. Growth is now exceptionally hard won and simply doing what you’re doing a little better may not be enough to sustain it. The competitive climate has also been transformed as the internet, social media and new digital devices, revolutionize the way consumers buy products and services and what they expect from them.

A clear indication of innovation’s move into the mainstream is that many companies now expect staff to allocate at least some of their time to developing and supporting new ideas. Many CEOs talked about the need ‘to empower frontline staff’ and underlined the move from innovation being ‘alchemy’ by the few to ‘cookery’ by the many.