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The Push to Innovate

Just as transformation of the MR industry is a hot topic right now, so is innovation. There is certainly significant synergy between these two forces, but what are the key drivers of innovation?I think there are multiple answers to that …

Just as transformation of the MR industry is a hot topic right now, so is innovation. There is certainly significant synergy between these two forces, but what are the key drivers of innovation?I think there are multiple answers to that question, but for now let’s focus on two areas: human capital and national culture as core issues that impact the ability to innovate.

Nilofer Merchant is CEO and Chief Strategist of Rubicon Consulting. She’s also the author of “The New How“. She recently wrote an article for “Business Insider” titled “You Can’t Innovate If You Keep Hiring The Same Type Of People”. It’s great read on breaking through the closed-loop system that so many companies seem to fall into when looking at new hires. The mistake seems to be that the hiring manager or recruiter tends to focus too much on a check box of pre-defined experience points rather than looking for talent, which is likely to be found outside of the narrow focus on specific experience. She makes the point on how this impacts innovation:

It seems to me we ought to also know how to get diverse points of view into the system, because that is what allows us to see things from different angles and fundamentally shift our approach from seeing the problem the way it’s always been seen (and thus unsolved, one could presume) and see it afresh to create the shift in viewpoint that allows for a new creative act.

To me, the point for MR seems to be this: we must transform our industry for long term growth. In order to accomplish that we must innovate. In order to innovate, we need to bring talented, creative, and energetic people with records of success in other industries into MR. Innovation isn’t necessarily about building a better mousetrap; true innovation is figuring out how to use the mice for our benefit.

The other factor impacting innovation is national culture. InnovationsDigest.com has a great article on which countries provide the most innovation-friendly climates for companies.  That’s the question the Boston Consulting Group, working with the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Institute, set out to answer in its recent survey.

BCG consultants, led by James P. Andrew, looked at both “inputs”—government policies supporting education, workforce quality, infrastructure, and trade—and “performance”—R&D results, business performance, employment growth, and other impacts of innovation.

At a time when countries around the world are struggling because of the global recession, it’s all the more important for them to make themselves more attractive to potential investment from multinationals looking for environments that are innovation-friendly, says Andrew. “Countries aren’t innovative, companies are,” he says. “The choices that countries make can have a profound impact on the ability of companies to be innovative, to attract and retain people and other inputs that go into making innovation successful.”

So which countries have the right mix of pro-innovation policies and superior results? Despite the recession—and talk of decline in American manufacturing—the U.S. does well, ranking in the top 10. It’s not No. 1, though. To learn more about the 30 countries on BCG’s list, and the grades that BCG’s consultants gave them for overall ranking as well as inputs and performance, read on.

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2 Responses to “The Push to Innovate”

  1. Mobile, Mobile everywhere… « says:

    June 17th, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    […] If this is where advertising is going to migrate (and all indications are that it is), then research better get there too. This is a good example of how MR should be looking outside of our industry for innovation. […]

  2. That Darn Paradigm Continues To Shift « says:

    July 21st, 2010 at 11:39 am

    […] one of my early posts I discussed the need for creating a culture of innovation within the MR space and offered a few suggestions on how companies could position themselves to adapt to the new […]

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