Rotman Management

Setting the Course for Your Innovation Journey

MANY WELL-ESTABLISHED COMPANIES KNOW that innovation is critical but have only just begun to test the waters. Others have set sail and are learning to navigate. The most advanced are mid-voyage, deep into their quest. Wherever they are on their journey, companies that are especially good at cultivating innovation don’t view it as a task or a project with a set goal. Instead, they envision a permanent state of evolution and exploration.

Working with Dynata, a leading data provider, we recently surveyed more than 1,200 executives actively engaged in innovation. Our overall finding: Experienced innovators grew their market capitalization at a five-year compound annual rate of 9.5%, compared with just 0.5% for those with the least experience.

One of the survey’s most striking findings was the clear value of pursuing a variety of approaches to innovation. While corporate strategy often benefits from focus, the process of innovation requires making multiple bets. Experienced innovators in our survey employ a variety of approaches to generate innovation, averaging 4.4 different tactics each — compared with 2.8 tactics for the companies least experienced at innovation.

The portfolio of approaches

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