For many chief executives, innovation is a constant challenge, no matter where a business is located or its industry. Everyone is impacted by quickly evolving technologies.
With more than 27,000 business leaders around the globe among its membership, YPO regularly garners insights from these chief executives.
In coordination with YPO Innovation Week, the organization recently surveyed members about the impact of innovation within their businesses and industries — and the role leaders play in that transformational journey.
Of the more than 1,600 respondents to the YPO 2019 Global Pulse, it’s not surprising that most (57 percent) agreed an urgent need to innovate exists. However, more than one third (37 percent) shared that they are not likely to invest in innovation in the next 12 months. Commitment levels to innovation varies by industry, revenue and an appetite for risk.
Six Key Findings
While this survey was extensive and the data in the report is detailed, a few findings stand out.
- The main driver of innovation was reported to be customer experience, with nearly one in five respondents citing it ahead of products, data/business intelligence or technology.
- Chief executives are extremely likely to invest in customer-experience innovation over the next 12 months.
- Thirty-six percent of chief executives strongly agree that changing market conditions are disrupting their business, 24 percent strongly think their industry is being disrupted by technology and 20 percent strongly agree new competitors threaten their business.
- Over the next 12 months, chief executives are extremely likely to invest in innovation in the following areas: products (45 percent), internal processes (44 percent) and technology (42 percent).
- More than four in 10 chief executives strongly believe they have the appetite for experimentation and risk when they do business (this grows to 90 percent when factoring in those who ‘somewhat’ agree they have an appetite for experimentation and risk). Chief executives leading companies with annual revenues between USD25 million and USD99 million appear to be the most risk averse compared to those leading smaller businesses and those leading businesses with more than USD100 million in annual revenues.
- Nearly half of chief executives cited customers as their top source of innovation inspiration (48 percent) with employees (35 percent) ranking second and business colleagues third (27 percent). Consultants (10 percent) and think tanks (7 percent) lag far behind.
Customers are the most frequently cited source of innovation inspiration (48%) for CEOs, employees rank second (35%), and business colleagues third (27%). Consultants and think tanks lag far behind.
It was noted that in comparing responses from regions around the globe, there were some clear differences in how leaders think about innovation.
U.K. respondents (43 percent) were much more likely than their European peers (31 percent) to strongly agree that changing market conditions are redefining their business. Respondents in the Middle East/North Africa had the strongest agreement with this statement (51 percent), followed by Africa (44 percent).
Chief executives in Latin America (19 percent) and Asia (14 percent) are more concerned that technology is making their business model obsolete, especially when compared to their peers in Europe (9 percent) and the United States (7 percent).
Chief executives in the Middle East/North Africa (10 percent) and Asia (9 percent) are more likely to strongly believe their competitors are innovating faster compared to the respondents across all regions (6 percent).
The data from the Global Pulse shows that industry plays a large role in defining chief executives’ approach to innovation.
Those responding with the highest urgency to innovate and highest likelihood to invest in innovation in the next 12 months are in service industries, including advertising/marketing and insurance, as well as more capital-intensive industries such as aerospace/defense and logistics.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, chief executives with the least urgency to innovate and invest in innovation in the next 12 months came from industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and utilities.
Chief executives in the media/publishing industry indicate high urgency to innovate with moderate likelihood of investment in innovation in the next 12 months.
Read the full report
The 2019 YPO Global Pulse offers greater detail into what chief executives are thinking when it comes to innovation around the globe, what is top of mind for these leaders and what is likely to receive investment. Find the full report and supporting documents here: YPO Global Pulse.
Read our coverage of YPO’s Innovation Week 2019
- YPO Innovation Week 2019 Launches With 3D Printing, Construction Technology And Startups
- YPO Innovation Week 2019 Day 2 Tackles Technology Adoption, Fintech And Doing Business In China
- YPO Innovation Week 2019 Day 3 Addresses Future Of Everything, 4th Industrial Revolution And Trust
- Four Progressive Leaders To Receive The 2019 YPO Global Innovation Awards
- YPO Innovation Week 2019 Finale Includes Future Of Work And Collaborative Innovation