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How to capitalise on innovation – learning from the leaders

PA’s latest innovation research is extensively featured on Marginalia – Future of Work magazine. 

The article looks at PA’s report in depth, which finds that organisations are missing out on the potential of innovation to drive progress. Two thirds (66%) of companies are convinced that innovation is crucial to their survival. Yet only 28% say they are innovating successfully to drive growth.

The article goes on to say that PA’s research makes clear that innovation not only helps organisations survive, but also thrive amidst uncertainty.

Looking closely at technology, the article quotes PA’s Bill Yost, a technology expert, who says that mobile apps and IoT networks are fertile ground for innovation. Bill says: “using these platforms, innovators have changed the ways in which we do business, connect socially, and manage appliances. Both new and existing enterprises have benefited from the ideas that have emerged and generated value in these spaces”.

Bill goes on to talk about the speed at which innovation develops and the value it generates: “Apple made a splash when it went public in 1980. As a five-year-old company, it achieved a market valuation equivalent to US$5bn in today’s dollars. In contrast, when Snapchat held its IPO this year it was valued at US$33bn and the personal shareholding of its CEO, Evan Spiegel, alone was worth US$5bn.”

Bill goes on to talk about companies such as Snapchat who have reached their 10-figure valuations in less than three years. He says that they’ve managed to reach a global audience with little effort, thanks to mobile and internet technology. He goes on to say: “there is no doubt that having a pathway to create so much value, so quickly, is a powerful motivator for anyone seeking to bring new ideas to life.”

The article goes on to talk about the innovation leaders who recognise the importance of innovation and want to do something about it. Bill explains: “They are effective at bringing networks of people together and marshalling collective efforts to address big issues”.

He explains that a good example of this type of leaders is Ellen MacArthur who is leading her eponymous foundation to drive growth in the circular economy. Bill goes on to say: “PA Consulting, along with dozens of the world’s largest companies, have joined with start-ups, governments, and universities, in the foundation’s CE100 programme to collaborate on efforts to reduce waste and improve energy efficiency according to Ellen’s vision.”

Test report cover


Innovation Matters: What are the 'innovation leaders' doing right?


Download the report



The article also looks at the future of work and the technological changes that might affect innovation. Jennifer Cable, a people and talent expert at PA says that there are new and scarce skill sets that are now required such as social media and data analysts. “We are also seeing reductions in some roles with AI robots such as Amelia starting to take on customer facing duties,” says Jennifer.

Jennifer goes on to say that companies that examine the future to identify the skills that will become of greater importance are at an advantage: “They have time to invest in those employees that can adapt and develop. Rather than re-creating the leaders of today, they focus on creating the leaders of tomorrow.”

Innovations in technology are impacting the way in which people work in terms of their location and time of day. Jennifer explains: “Working from home and the traditional office hours is no longer unusual; instead it is the norm. As wearable and communication technologies develop further, we might anticipate further changes in working patterns and behaviours.”

Jennifer goes on to say that that the companies that are more successful at innovation have teams with a greater and more diverse skill-set. “Our research shows that 78% of innovation leaders have leadership teams with diverse skills compared with 66% of their less successful peers. This requires refocusing attraction, hiring, development and recognition systems away from a single model of leadership and more towards an approach that values different strengths and styles,” says Jennifer.

Jennifer concludes by saying that companies need to allow employees time to spend on innovation: “How an organisation is structured, led, and offers reward and recognition makes all the difference in seeing organisations flourish in this area.”


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