Some Thoughts on the McKinsey Global Innovation Survey

McKinsey have just released their 2010 innovation survey. It’s a very thought-provoking read and its based on a survey of over 2000 respondents from several industries. The survey can be found on and its free to get a subscription. Many of the survey results regarding the management of innovation as a process are consistent with a lot of things that we have been writing on the blog. According to McKinsey, these same management issues come up year after year, too.

Interestingly, exhibit 4 shows that most managers think that innovation performance would improve with a better pipeline of big ideas (57%), yet only a third of these managers thought they had a good balance between idea generation and effective execution. The ideas trap is alive and well!

One of the most interesting graphics related to the effects of formalizing the innovation process. Most respondents did not have a formal innovation process and only a third were able to say that they had their innovation initiatives aligned with strategy at the business or corporate level.

However, those that reported having a very formalized innovation management process (about 20%) reported higher rates of innovation rejection within the business and slower times to market compared to firms that had more informal innovation management processes. While it would be interesting to know what these processes actually look like, it gives us some evidence that too much formality is a bad thing.

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4 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on the McKinsey Global Innovation Survey

  1. Good info John.

    In relation to the second slide, part of the issue [I think] is that many companies that say they have an innovation management process actually spends too much time managing the process rather than managing the innovation – which inevitably results in overheads and delays.

    Thanks for the callouts.


  2. Hi Ned. You are probably right there. Going through the motions and obeying procedure is no way to become more innovative.

  3. I was immediately struck by the last comment on the summary page that describes one of the major disagreements: “whether the company has the right people to innovate…”. The context for that is also interesting in that one of the impediments to progress is whether the company has a “culture” of innovation. I find it sadly telling that the very leadership that is telling us why their innovation is ineffective are not listening to the very people that daily live in the ineffective systems that have been created by not listening – to those very people.

    Equitable representation and equitable remuneration are worthy metrics to consider as we measure the root cause of why we don’t innovate – and the benefit available when we set innovation free in the hands of all stakeholders. Better relationships, companies, communities, and even countries await..

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