Innoboard: Mr. Noelle, as Technology Planning Manager at Ford, you are working at the forefront in developing new product features for volume vehicles. Why is systematic innovation management so critical to success?
Innoboard: Dr. Rütsche, companies often just rely on their brand and the reputation of their R & D. Why is targeted research marketing still important?
Dr. Erich Rütsche: Research is a substantial part of the brand for many companies. For us, technological leadership and innovation are a central part of IBM’s identity and marketing helps a lot here to strengthen the brand. Promoting research externaly is also a necessary tool to turn our ideas into reality.
Innoboard: Mr. Frey, you lead the innovation team of the Fire Safety and Security Business Unit for Siemens Building Technologies in Zug (Switzerland). How do safety and innovation go together?
Christian G. Frey: Siemens shares the objective described in the security research program of the German Federal Government to provide innovative solutions for increased levels of public safety of citizens while maintaining the balance between security and personal freedom.
ILI CONSULTING’s benchmarking of the DAX 30 corporations, reported as “Innovation 2015,” underscores the highly strategic significance of innovation. Nevertheless, the DAX 30 corporations are only moderately innovative, although many often overestimate their innovativeness or sweep it under the rug. The survey, in which 26 of the 30 firms were highly involved, points out the acute competitiveness risks facing many German firms.
“In the best case, a survey of innovation could itself elicit innovation!“, Dr. Kemal Malik, Member of the Board for Innovation, Bayer AG
Maturity – one couldn’t be more ambiguous when referring to major and successful corporations, because success today invariably means a decline in willingness to change tomorrow. Weak innovation initiatives are the cause and outcome of future failures. Out of the blue, innovators surprise, marginalize, or even oust successful firms.
As Schumpeter postulated, innovation in processes, products, and business models is always intertwined with creative destruction. Innovation thrives on risk. Undoubtedly, much talk abounds on innovation and change. Yet, when it is crucial to transform ideas and concepts into innovation, many reasons emerge to trample down their feasibility and potential. As always, everyone, especially a corporation, finds it hard to leave the comfort zone.
Many industries resist this phenomenon. Year-on-year, they undertake incremental, clearly defined evolution processes to achieve marginal advances in products and buying impulses. Yet, the fight for 5% less consumption or 2% more content quickly shifts one’s sight away from the essential fact: a real lead comes from only fundamental change – because hiding behind standard stuff means that followers will not be far behind.
Companies need opportunity intelligence if they want to change and leave the competition biting the dust. This is defined as the readiness to apply external knowledge and recognize one’s capabilities, underscored by a good overview of the market and possibilities, and above all the guts to radically alter the perspective.
The culture and enthusiasm for “repeatedly reinventing oneself“ is the only reliable companion that empowers one to keep setting new trends and playing with the leaders: globally, in the heads of customers, and on one’s own turf.
Many DAX 30 corporations overestimate their innovativeness.
Our study of the DAX 30 corporations underscores the highly strategic significance of innovation. Only two companies have an image as top innovator.
Also read the corresponding article in the Harvard Business Manager, Issue 5/2015 (german)
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