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Innovation hard to achieve: CEOs

CEOs said collaborations and business partners were most likely to be the sources for new ideas for their business models.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 10:24 IST

The world's top corporate executives are on the prowl for new ideas to drive growth but are struggling to raise the profile of innovation within their own companies, according to a survey on Wednesday.

Nearly two-thirds of the world's top chief executives said that due to pressures from market and competitive forces, they plan to radically alter their companies over the next two years, and corporate leaders are increasingly looking to innovation in their business models to drive growth, according to the survey of more than 750 chief executives from International Business Machines Corp's IBM Business Consulting.

The ability to drive growth in most industries is at a delicate balance, the chief executives said. According to the survey, the majority of chief executives who are focused on innovation in their business models are fearful that changes made by competing organizations could result in radical changes in their industry.

"It's not just product innovation any more," said Ginni Rometty, Senior Vice President, IBM Enterprise Business Services in a statement.

"It's about understanding how to innovate a business model, or an operational process, or management behavior -- such as real-time risk management, global small business, collaborative pharmaceutical development, or digital film distribution."

But chief executives said that obstacles to innovation were most likely to come from internal problems in their own organizations than external issues.

Only 14 per cent of chief executives polled thought internal research and development was a good source for new ideas.

Instead, chief executives said collaborations and business partners were most likely to be the sources for new ideas for their business models.

More than a third of CEOs polled said the top obstacle to innovation was an unsupportive culture and climate in their companies. Despite a desire to make changes, 80 percent of CEOs said their organizations have not been very successful at managing change in the past.

But part of the problem to driving innovation in their organizations might also be the tone set at the top, the survey revealed

Despite pushing for change, only 35 per cent of CEOs were willing to make innovation a CEO responsibility.

In Japan, China, Korea and Eastern Europe, 47 per cent of CEOs polled said they took strong ownership of the innovation agenda, but only 20 per cent said they did so in the United States and India, where innovation management is more likely to be spread out across the organization and through external business partners.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 10:24 IST

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