There isn’t a business that doesn’t want to be more creative in its thinking. According to one study, 75% of CEOs of the fastest growing companies claim their strongest competitive advantage is unique products and services and the distinct business processes that power them to market—innovation by another name. In another survey, Boston Consulting Group reported that 90% of organizations believe innovation is a strategic priority for 2004 and beyond. The trend was also confirmed by research undertaken by consulting firm Strategos. Their conclusion: the importance of innovation in all sectors is growing, and growing significantly.
In today’s ever-changing economic landscape, inventiveness has become a key factor influencing strategic planning. IT guru Kevin Kelly once said, “Wealth flows directly from innovation … not optimization … wealth is not gained by perfecting the known.” Efficiency, while a necessary condition for business success, is insufficient to sustain growth over decades. While new levels of efficiency and productivity require inventive solutions, the goal of efficiency is not the same as the goal of innovation.