What Execs Want from You

Are you struggling to get your innovative project approved? Been chopped off at the knees halfway through a project with all funds withdrawn? It may be that you are missing a core piece in the puzzle.

The top 8 capabilities critical to innovation success are:

  1. Developing a deep understanding of customers and their preferences
  2. Partnering effectively with suppliers and others for new ideas
  3. Ensuring executive-level sponsorship of projects
  4. Enforcing timelines and milestones
  5. Earmarking sufficient funds for projects
  6. Moving quickly from idea generation to initial market entry
  7. Balancing risks, time frames and returns across an entire portfolio of projects
  8. Fostering a corporate culture that promotes innovation
Interestingly, from senior executives' perspective, speed and discipline are the most commonly identified weaknesses, where deep customer understanding and executive support are the most commonly identified strengths (of course they would say that).

From my experience working with innovation change agents around the world, the feeling is that the biggest weaknesses are (1) lack of executive support and (2) insufficient funding.

This creates a huge gulf and can undermine the success and support of innovation projects and perceived Return on Innovation.

Take time out to think these through and address these issues as part of your planning and/or next project review --- you will be surprised at how a shift in perception can make or break a project.

Source: BCG 2008 Senior Executive Innovation Survey