Blame Executives, Not Engineers, If A Company Isn’t Innovative

McKinsey recently asked executives how they continually generate ideas to fight off competition from startups and other disruptors. 

They surveyed almost 3000 executives from a broad range of regions, company sizes, and industries.

Executives consistently said that the most important factor in the success of these efforts is how well they’re integrated with overall corporate strategy, and how supportive and engaged the company’s leaders are.

Leadership from the C-suite has a massive effect on the success of these projects:

McKinsey chart


C-level executives are the ones that set company strategies. The less engaged they are with these departments, the farther they drift away from that strategy, and the less they succeed.

That point is reiterated with McKinsey’s chart of the biggest problems researchers face. Isolation means more competition with short term goals, and confusion about core aims and strategy: 

McKinsey 2

McKinsey Quarterly


Putting brilliant researchers in an innovative new department is no guarantee of success. They’re approaching the company’s strategy in a different way and need to have the space to do so, but it’s important that the C-suite makes sure they’re accountable and goal focused.


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