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4 in 10 energy executives think innovation is successful in driving growth

This article first appeared in Energy Central.

Despite believing that its leadership displays the vision and passion needed to make innovation happen, only 38% of energy & utilities executives believe that recent innovation has been successful in driving growth in their firms.

That's a finding from PA Consulting Group's recent "Innovation Matters" survey. We queried 821 senior executives from a variety of industry sectors worldwide, and found that the global energy & utilities industry has marked differences in its view of innovation compared to other global industries - and as a result is seeing very different returns on their innovation investments.

The research shows that only 35% of energy leaders report being good at taking innovations and scaling these up within their businesses. Clearly there is a lack of confidence in the abilities of their organizations to take an innovation and actually make use of it to drive growth. So much so, that 73% of those leaders believe that they are more likely to achieve success when they source new innovations from the outside. Sourcing innovation from the outside is certainly a path toward driving growth in a business, and firms such as Exelon have formed venture capital organizations to capture these opportunities. However, there is a missed opportunity if one fails to build the competencies to scale innovation within their own organization.

A more comprehensive approach involves focusing on the abilities of organizations and people to recognize opportunities and to help the business capitalize on them. Easier said than done, but some firms are rising to the challenge, making real changes in their day-to-day business. National Grid, for example, has established its New Energy Solutions group to drive and scale innovation in its electric and gas businesses in North America. How will your firm adapt to achieve effective and lasting growth in our rapidly changing industry?

Walter Rojowsky is an energy & utilities expert at PA Consulting Group

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