Global Innovation Economy: Most companies are struggling to keep up in the Global Innovation Economy, with unprecedented business opportunities but with exponentially improving technologies and rapidly increasing global competition. The lifetime of S&P 500 companies has declined from almost 100 years in 1900 to under 20 years in 2015. Almost all measures of innovative performance show poor results, although there is an abundance of business opportunities, especially in underdeveloped countries.
Working with thousands of senior executives, managers, and professionals from around the world, we have found that very few enterprises have systematic innovation processes. The test is to ask a professional in the enterprise to describe their company’s innovation process. If they can’t, there probably isn’t one. Only a few can pass that test.
Our Perspective: Innovation is not the result of luck or a lone genius. Rather it is a disciplined process that can be learned, shared, and improved. The Practice of Innovation embodies practices that work because they were tested and refined for decades with a broad range of partners and organizations. When Curt Carlson was CEO of SRI, all new employees were given a workshop on innovation to align the enterprise on how to create value for their customers, both outside and inside. After all, since we all have customers, we should all be constantly creating new value for them. At the same time, this understanding and focus on the customer set the stage for the development of major transformative innovations, like Intuitive Surgical, HDTV, satellite digital video, and Siri.