We recently conducted a survey among 405 business professionals in Spain to analyze their company´s capacity to innovate. From this survey it becomes clear that a company's capacity to innovate depends in three major areas:
- Their employees profiles;
- The right management practices to develop innovative work behaviours;
- Innovation practices that enable new things to happen.
Innovation is one of the only avenues left for many companies to generate organic revenew growth, specially during an economic recession.
We distinguished four different personal profiles, depending on how people use their brains: innovators, communicators, analytical or organized. In a company it is imperative that these profiles are aligned with the business function they develop. For eg. we´ve analyzed a company where in their financial department they did not have any analytical-type profile. Also, we found another company where they didn´t have any innovators in their marketing department.
Innovation should start as a top-to-bottom practice. Therefore it is imperative that Executive Comittees are innovative and do engage in innovative work behaviours themselves. We found that many companies do not provide the management leadership to promote innovation. People in lower ranks are smart enough to recognize a management team that is not engaged in continuous innovation and the change associated with it.
In reference to the right management practices to foster innovative work behaviours we found a strech correlation between the perceived obligation to innovate (when maagement is clear about innovation objectives, strategy and metrics to meassure outputs) and the employees' innovative work behaviour. We should not forget, innovation is about people, as Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc pointed.
Innovation practices refer to processes, strategies, collaboration, customer relationship management and organization. In Spain we found out that there is still a lot of room for growth in getting to know the client and innovating based on their future needs. Companies, in general terms, do not understand their clients' needs.
This study was directed by Prof. Nagarajam Ramamoorthy from the University of Houston, Victoria. A complete report will be published during October of 2008.
If you have any questions about the study, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org