Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Boston Consulting Group: Innovation regains top-priority status

After a pause in 2009, reflecting growing concerns over the economy, innovation is once again a top strategic priority for a large majority of companies in 2010, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, titled Innovation 2010: A Return to Prominence—and the Emergence of a New World Order, is being released today.

The report, which was based on a global survey of nearly 1,600 senior executives that BCG conducted in partnership with BusinessWeek, also reveals that companies are increasing their innovation spending and that their satisfaction with the return on innovation spending has climbed. But companies remain somewhat cautious, keeping a close eye on the cost of their innovation activities and raising their emphasis on conservative bets.

“Companies took a defensive stance last year but have recommitted to innovation in 2010, realizing its importance to their long-term competitiveness,” said BCG Senior Partner James P. Andrew, lead author of the report and the coauthor of Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation. “But they are focused on making sure they earn a return on every dollar invested, which is understandable, given the environment.”

The report discusses this and a range of other innovation-related topics, including what the authors believe could be the beginnings of a long-term trend in innovation, one in which rapidly developing economies, led by China, India, and Brazil, gradually take the leadership reins from mature economies, including the perennial torchbearer, the United States. “For managers, the implications of this potential changing of the guard are sizable,” said Andrew. “Executives, especially those from developed markets, will be wrestling with this for years to come and will have to view the innovation world through an entirely different lens going forward.”

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