Innovation may need agile, bottom-up energy, but it also needs top-down help.
Every innovation project needs to be supported by senior management. If it does not, there is little chance of innovation catching on. They end up with pilot projects where new technologies and innovations are tested but never rolled out to the whole company. The result is entertaining experiments with new technologies such as artificial intelligence ( AI) that are nice to show to the public but of little use to the actual business of the company. Eventually, these innovation projects are cut off from funding.
KPMG, for example, showed in its Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2020 report that 45% of respondents in large companies say that innovation and strategy in their companies are “only somewhat connected or not aligned at all”. In addition, 60% of respondents said their innovation projects were “ad hoc or nascent” and had little to do with the rest of the company.
Another mistake business leaders make is assuming that simply being in an innovation ecosystem will open the door to innovation and partnerships within that ecosystem.
To get the most out of an external partnership, business leaders need to think carefully about what they want to achieve strategically. Once leaders have this strategic vision for innovation, they can focus on who they want to meet and who can help them organise those meetings.
Finding the right startup that is at the right stage and has the right technology solution is the best way to move things forward.