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Fostering Innovation Stumps Executives

  • The Find: Every executive demands those invaluable intangibles such as innovation and creativity. Yet surprisingly few know to truly nurture them.
  • The Source: Recent surveys by Accenture and the Conference Board.
The Takeaway: Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts sums up how important innovation is in a recent interview with Knowledge@Wharton:

"You never get insight from formal research... Every company has tons and tons of data, but they are all asking the same questions. Information and knowledge are 'table stakes.' Insight and foresight win."

To foster innovation, you could appoint a chief innovation officer, but the Accenture study reveals that only 11 percent of respondents said their companies have C-suite innovation execs.

Training is also an option. The Conference Board study found that nearly all executives surveyed (97 percent) think that arts training is key to developing creativity. It's probably too much to expect firms to pay for employees to paint or dance, but even programs like sending employees to work in other departments, managerial training, and mentoring can help and in fact are provided by 80 percent of creativity-seeking firms. The other 20 percent don't provide them at all. If you're really serious about innovation, shouldn't some training be standard?