Who’s innovative now?

What’s the best way to measure an organisation’s ability to innovate? Ask those with skin in the game – investors. Researchers Clayton Christensen, Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen, co-authors of The Innovator’s DNA, did just that. Working with Michael McConnell, a senior advisor at HOLT, a Credit Suisse unit, they’ve developed an ‘innovation premium’, the premium the stock market gives a company because investors expect it to launch new offerings and enter new markets that will generate even bigger income streams. They used it to rank the world’s most innovative companies, a list that includes the usual tech groundbreakers as well as outliers like Hindustan Lever (India), Tencent Holdings (China) and CSL (Australia). “Particular skills separate business innovators from ordinary managers,” they write in the August 8 issue of Forbes. “These characteristics are not simply a genetic endowment of the lucky few.” Topping the list is Salesforce.com. “I can’t sit in headquarters and pretend I’m in touch,” says CEO Marc Benioff. “Odds are, what we’re using today will be obsolete in a few years. The past is never the future. But it’s easy to get caught up in the continuum.” Such leaders don’t delegate innovation to somebody else, adds INSEAD’s Hal Gregersen. “Openness to new ideas has to be the rule right through the company”, he says. “Employees at every level should be constantly invited to ask themselves: ‘How can we do this better?’ In a successful company, innovation is everybody’s job.”

 

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