Innovation top challenge for 2012, say CEOs

by | Jun 1, 2012

Innovation will be the greatest challenge for CEOs in the coming year, according to a survey conducted by US think tank the Conference Board.

The 776 chief executives taking part in this year’s research named innovation as their most pressing challenge followed by human capital, global political/economic risk, government regulation and global expansion.

Orkla Brands CEO Torkild Nordberg. Image: Orkla/Flickr.

Orkla Brands CEO Torkild Nordberg. Image: Orkla/Flickr.

Innovation of products, processes, organization and business models was named the most important challenge ahead of CEOs with technology elected the number one driver of that innovation.

The results reflect the recent study carried out by IBM which found that more CEOs wanted to embrace emerging technologies, and social media in particular, in the near future. There will be 57 per cent of top chiefs that use social media to connect with employees, clients and partners in the next three to five years.

Conference Board’s findings show that CEOs recognise how crucial the human side of innovation is. This includes the people, the minds, the groups and the overall culture that is (or must become) fertile ground to allow new ideas to grow and thrive. Of the top challenges named, none is as closely linked to human capital as innovation.

The report names three key innovation strategies: create a culture responsive to innovation by rewarding entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking; forge strategic partnerships with clients, suppliers and other external stakeholders and locate, encourage and reward key innovation talent.

It is interesting to note that these innovation strategies are closely tied to people, not technology.

There is much more to discover in the Conference Board CEO Challenge 2012. You can read it here.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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