The Corporate Innovation Problem

frankmattes Thought Leadership

Innovation is at the top of the Management Agenda for many companies. For excellence in innovation, companies have to master the chain of activities from discovering insight into valuable, unmet customer needs through to successful market adoption.

However, despite large and growing investments into innovation, results remain disappointing. We call this the “Corporate Innovation Problem”(TM) (Note: For easier readability we will not repeat the TM sign every time).

How does the Corporate Innovation Problem manifest?

Firstly, despite of all of the investments into the FFE, the success rate of innovation is still low. From metastudies done on innovation in various industries and circumstances it can be concluded that only 10 to 20 percent of innovations are successful.

Secondly, improvements are moving rather slowly. According to Strategy&’s 2014 Global Innovation Study, only one third of CEOs see their companies to be “much better” in innovation than they were 10 years ago. A recent Accenture study explains why this is so: More companies have become more risk averse, are missing more opportunities and are failing to learn from mistakes than even only a few years ago.

And thirdly, the future outlook is not very positive. A senior executive of a leading global bank we know estimates that 80 to 90 percent of innovation centers will fail and end up being a massive waste of resources.

Solving the Corporate Innovation Problem

In the upcoming blog posts we will demonstrate an effective way to solve the Corporate Innovation Problem. Our thinking process is as follows:

  • Firstly, we need to have a solid understanding about innovation management. It turns out, that there are two major parts to it – an early phase and a late phase – each of them with distinctive characters.
  • We then look at the early phase which is about innovation effectiveness. For setting up the company’s innovation for effectiveness, there is no one-size-fits-it-all approach. However, as we will show, there are industry-specific patterns. We will also show that there are four major routes leading firms are taking.
  • However, as stated above, despite all of the investments made into pursuing these routes, innovation results are disappointing. We will provide facts and figures showing that this a significant problem – and a problem worth solving.
  • To solve the Corporate Innovation Problem, we will be unearthing its root causes. We show that there are three. Two of these causes, the integration between the various routes taken in the early phase of innovation with the late phase and the “complexity problem”, are in our view not suitable for a general discussion because there many company-specific factors involved.
  • However, we are confident that there is an effective approach to address the third major root cause of the Corporate Innovation Problem, which we call “the system problem”. Building on analyses of the global top innovating firms and our own expertise we will then illustrate this approach which is built on six lines of attack.

We will publish our thoughts every other week. So stay tuned – or get in touch with us immediately.

About is an international agency focused on solving the corporate innovation problem. To achieve this, we provide consulting services based on proven, best-in-class methodology which in many cases is proprietary. The services are delivered by experienced innovation management specialists and by subject-matter experts.

Please get in touch with us if you want to improve the outcomes of innovation investments.