Eyes Wide Shut – Leading for innovation in post-recession Britain

  • Eyeswideshut2

Our UK office interviewed CEOs, directors and senior leaders of 400 of the UK’s largest businesses in ten key industries to understand how they are meeting the challenges of growth, new competition, and disruptive market forces today. Our research reveals innovation has never been more crucial - both to the UK’s economic growth and to the survival of its biggest employers.

Please download the synopsis here.

You will read that almost three-quarters (72%) of directors of the country’s largest businesses admit their organisation is too reliant on fading revenue streams. The issue goes much deeper than a demand for new products and services. Leaders have identified a need for continual renewal at the heart of how UK companies generate value.

Worryingly, leaders of more than a quarter (28%) of these major companies fear their business model will cease to work altogether within just three years.

Many months after the UK recession ended, most of its businesses are only now on the brink of changing strategy to focus on growth rather than efficiency. Almost two-thirds (61%) are about to make the switch.

With their growth prospects equally dependent on innovation, more than two-thirds (69%) of UK corporates name innovation within their top three priorities.

Despite the vital importance of innovation to leaders and the firms they steer, there is a widespread undercurrent of complacency. An extraordinary 94% of CEOs are content with their current innovation pipeline. This flies in the face of data revealing the slow progress of innovation initiatives. The same businesses are taking on average more than 19 months to get an idea to market and a sizeable minority (38%) of leaders admit they do not know where a significant proportion of their company’s 2014/5 revenue will come from.

Where innovation is concerned there is a strange detachment. Leaders recognise the troubling realities of the commercial landscape and the need to change fast. Yet three key barriers are preventing the transformation of great ideas into tomorrow’s revenue streams, and with it diminishing the nation’s prospects of an innovation-led recovery:

*Leadership: Built to operate not innovate
*Structure: Damaged by disconnection
*Execution: Process paralysis

In this report, drawing on over 20 years of innovation expertise and the data from our research, we explore these three barriers, and provide some solutions. We share how even large organisations with entrenched operating models can open their eyes and make a positive choice to be the disruptor and not the disrupted.

Thank you to the business leaders who participated in this study for their candid insights. We hope you find this report a useful guide in your own journey of growth.

Please download the synopsis here.

For more information please contact: sarah.dickinson@whatifinnovation.com.

FROM the greenhouse