• Phone
  • Contact us
  • Locations
  • Search
  • Menu


  • Add this article to your LinkedIn page
  • Add this article to your Twitter feed
  • Email this article
View or print a PDF of this page
Close this video
Home Our thinking Innovation

Innovation as unusual

Making the difference in innovation

Subscribe for updates on Innovation

Are your innovations taking off

What's new in innovation

Are your innovations taking off? 

Manufacturers are spending more on innovation but our research shows half of the ideas they generate fail to become a reality. So how can they ensure their innovative ideas turn into commercial success?

As part of our innovation as Unusual survey, we asked 100 senior leaders from the consumer products, industrial engineering and automotive sectors about the critical factors in successful innovation.

Download report 

Are you an innovator CIO? Here's what it takes

What keeps a CIO awake at night? For a long time it was the challenge of maintaining core systems while improving efficiency and supporting strategic business objectives. But, more recently, it’s been the threat of disruption. Is our business ready for a digital-enabled and changing economy? Could, and should, technology turn our business model on its head? 

Find out more 

A culture of innovation - maybe they're just born with it?

Is a culture of innovation something you can create or are organizations simply born with it? This controversial question is one many executives are grappling with as they face losing market share to more agile and innovative competitors.

At PA’s recent event, a panel of senior executives, from large corporates to smaller organizations, share their game-changing experiences on how they have created an innovative culture. View insights below from Wendy Mayer, VP Worldwide Innovation, Pfizer and  Raymond Pawlicki, formerly CIO, Novartis Pharmaceuticals AG.

Wendy Mayer, VP Worldwide Innovation, Pfizer
Wendy Mayer, VP Worldwide Innovation, Pfizer
Raymond Pawlicki, formerly CIO, Novartis Pharmaceuticals AG
Raymond Pawlicki, formerly CIO, Novartis Pharmaceuticals AG

About our innovation report

Innovation as unusual

Is innovation broken? Our latest research – involving 750 senior executives across 15 countries and multiple sectors – shows that many organisations are too risk averse to invest boldly in groundbreaking ideas. Only half of organisations in our study try to be pioneers in innovation. When they do get a good idea, many waste that good idea – and half (50%) say they have seen a brilliant idea fail for reasons that could have been avoided.  Our research findings show that innovation needs to be at the top of the boardroom agenda – and that executives must develop an appetite for bold ideas and risk-taking.

Read more on innovation research

Insights from innovation leaders

Below, Sir Ben Ainslie, Laurence Bret-Stern, Marc Koska OBE and Yvonne Rodgers – speakers at our recent innovation event - discuss in more detail what innovation means to them.

Sir Ben Ainslie

Laurence Bret-Stern

Yvonne Rodgers

Marc Koska OBE

Sir Ben Ainslie, Land Rover BAR team principal and four times Olympic gold sailing medallist, talks about how innovation is driven by his team’s ultimate goal – to bring the America’s Cup home to Britain in 2017.

Innovation is at the core of everything we do. As the leader of the team, it’s about giving all of my team the opportunity to give ideas, not to pigeonhole them, and to give them accountability.

Laurence Bret-Stern, Senior Marketing Director, EMEA & LATAM, LinkedIn, says innovation is part of LinkedIn’s DNA. To nurture change as an organisation, they provide compelling reasons for change, encourage people to act as owners and also to urge people to take ‘intelligent risk’.

She stresses that talent is what distinguishes great companies from good companies:

You have to hire the best people to drive innovation. These are the most creative people but also the most skilled and the most motivated.

Yvonne Rodgers, COO, Barclays Global Financial Crime division, explains how Barclays looks at innovation in different ways – internally, in terms of how they innovate to make themselves more efficient and productive, and also externally to support their customers, clients and small businesses.

As a leader in Barclays, I really need to focus on people. So what I’m looking to do is to develop my people – to ensure they have the skills and breadth of role to allow them to develop in that role, and then my job is to support them.

Marc Koska OBE, Inventor and founder of Safepoint, highlights how the transmission of HIV through the reuse of syringes – the ninth biggest killer in the world – drove him to set up his charity. He and his team worked to lobby national organisations, government and the World Health Organisation to adopt better standards for injections safety around the world.

While demonstrating his syringe, Marc explains:

What I was able to do is to get organisations to agree on the new standard for the world and to create a universal target to eliminate unsafe injections from 2020.
Drayson -  the difference is a breath of fresh air

Saving lives by empowering communities to tackle air pollution

Each year, seven million deaths worldwide are attributed to air pollution.1 In the UK, air pollution contributes to 44,000 deaths annually.2

Drayson Technologies believes that people should have the tools to see what’s in the air they breathe, and empowered with this information be able to reduce their own exposure to, and impact on, air pollution. The company conceived CleanSpace™, a portable personal air pollution sensor and app that gives you real-time personal data on your exposure and motivates you to choose non-polluting transport choices in return for rewards.

PA helped Drayson develop CleanSpace™ from concept to market in accelerated timescales, by providing commercial insight, technology expertise and scalable resource. We co-developed the portable air-quality sensor, the smart-phone application and the cloud-based internet services required. As a result, CleanSpace™ is now running in London and will shortly be launched in other cities worldwide.

1. WHO Report HAP AAP BoD 24/03/14
2. Royal College Physicians Report, The Lifelong effects of Air Pollution, February 2016

Visit our Make the Difference microsite
  • Energi Watch Technology threatens energy companies 9 September 2016   read more >
  • Life science leader Driving innovation In life sciences with Agile, 1 September 2016   read more >
  • Management Today How robotics and AI will affect your sector, 4 August 2016   read more >
  • Finans.dk Danish innovation companies need to be bolder, 15 July 2016   read more >    
  • Dagens Industri Chasing innovation, not cost, 23 June 2016 read more > 
  • Management Today The Willy Wonka world of PA Consulting, 23 March 2016 read more > 

PA’s Raspberry Pi Competition 2016 - Finals [yZK7Iwx8vaQ]

PA's new Raspberry Pi competition - inspiring engineers of the future 

The UK’s brightest innovators from schools across the country competed in the final of PA Consulting Group’s fourth annual Raspberry Pi coding competition on Thursday 14 April 2016. Nine teams of finalists presented their inventions to an expert judging panel. The competition challenged participants to use a Raspberry Pi to drive innovation in sport and leisure.  We would like to thanks all the participants for this year's competition.

Anita Chandraker, who leads the digital service team at PA Consulting Group and is chair of the judging panel said: 

" We have seen teams where some children are into engineering, some into coding and others are great at the marketing, and it’s this team work which needs to come together to create fantastic inventions. This year’s finalists produced really smart inventions which the judges thought could all easily be applied in the real world and it is this creativity and problem solving that is making the competition what it is today.”

Find out more about the competition

Subscribe for innovation insights

Stay informed with new innovation research, latest insights from innovation leaders and best-in-class case stories.

Register here to receive updates to our “Innovation as unusual” insight hub.


Anita Chandraker

Anita Chandraker
PA digital expert

Email | LinkedIn

Hans Houmes

Hans Houmes
PA consumer and
manufacturing expert

Email | LinkedIn

Jonathon Hogg

Jonathon Hogg
PA people and
change expert

Email | LinkedIn

By using this website, you accept the use of cookies. For more information on how to manage cookies, please read our privacy policy.