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Why do some companies innovate more successfully than others?

Michael Kidner, Colour Column, Flowers Gallery

Writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, Christine Crandell discusses why some companies successfully innovate and others don't.

Crandell argues that high rates of failure for new products – "once considered an inevitable cost of doing business" – are unacceptable in the modern business environment.

The author reveals that a survey involving more than 280 product executives in 17 industries found common patterns among the top performers.

Crandell describes some good management habits of innovative, high-performance companies:

  • Balance. At winning companies, investments in breakthrough advancements are balanced with spending on incremental innovations.
  • Prioritise. The high performers focus on product development projects that match up with market needs and the organisation's overall business strategy.
  • Analyse. The best innovators strive to find out if a product is worthwhile by analysing customer feedback as quickly as possible.
  • Automate. Crandell insists that the top performers use technology to deliver products on time, manage requirements, administer workflow and prioritise development.

The survey also revealed a flipside – failures consistent with the companies still struggling:

  • Not listening – failure to hear and consider what customers want.
  • Not collaborating – failure to share information and collaborate with key stakeholders.
  • Misalignment – failure to communicate between senior management and product-line staff.
  • Uncertainty – a lack of clear decision- marking and confusion over product-line ownership.
  • Paperwork – slowing down processes with traditional management methods.
  • Poor execution – bad planning and mismanagement of multiple teams.

Why Some Companies Successfully Innovate And Others Don't
Christine Crandell
Bloomberg Businessweek