3 Question Quiz: Is Your Company Ready to Innovate?

Last Updated Jun 24, 2008 1:21 PM EDT

Although every company needs to create new growth products and services to prosper, not all firms are on sound enough footing to boldly go where no company has gone before.

Judge the situation at your own company by answering these three questions, advises innovation expert Scott Anthony in a Harvard Business post about the future of Sony.

  1. Are you rarely surprised by your financial performance?
  2. Are your revenues and profits growing above the average for the categories in which you compete?
  3. Do you frequently lead the industry in the introduction of new products or service offerings, as opposed to always having to play catch-up?
"If you find yourself sadly answering 'No' to these three questions," says Anthony, "it might be the wrong time for you to focus on creating new growth business. It might make more sense to focus on tightening core processes, improving the process by which you introduce close-to-the-core improvements, or even selling or shutting down a business line or two."

Related reading: Jumpstarting Innovation: Using Disruption to Your Advantage (HBS Working Knowledge)

  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.