iSixSigma

Research: How Companies Innovate

The July/August issue of iSixSigma Magazine includes my latest research article that explores different aspects of innovation, including what people think of the relationship between Six Sigma and innovation.

A press releasewas issued this morning that includes a few highlights from the data:

With a vast majority of companies professing to want “innovation,” those that rate their efforts most effective say they rely on a clear strategy and systematic methodologies…

We surveyed 1,000 Six Sigma professionals from around the world and found that 91 percent said their companies are engaging in innovation activities. While just about everyone says their company is innovating there is quite a bit of variation in what innovation means and how effective they are at it.

Only 13 percent said that their company’s innovation efforts are effective. Of those that said their company is effective at innovation, 81 percent said they had a clear strategy driving their innovation efforts and 84 percent said their company uses a systematic process or methodology for innovation.

Compare that to the 10 percent of respondents who rated their company’s innovation efforts as”somewhat ineffective” or”ineffective” andsaid that their company uses a systematic process or methodology for innovation.

Strategy and process are two keys to business success. It looks like they also open the door to effective innovation.

The full results can be found in the July/August issue of iSixSigma Magazine.

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Comments 4

  1. Mike86

    I may be missing something, but 13 percent times 0.81 or 0.84 gives a number close to 10 percent (companies with effective innovation and strategy / process). I’m not sure if the 81 percent and 84 percent overlapped or not.

    The text states ten percent of the companies using strategy / process were somewhat ineffective or ineffective.

    So, if I’m understanding this correctly, roughly 50 percent of the companies using strategy and/or structure in innovation processes were successful. The other 50 percent were unsuccessful. Seems pretty close to random chance.

    I’m also a little confused about the blog text and the press release.

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  2. Michael Marx

    Mike, Thanks for your comments. Sometimes the numbers can get confusing and I wouldn’t put it past myself to make a mistake. Let me explain it this way and see if it clears things up:

    Out of 982 respondents who answered the question, “Please select the statement below that best defines your company’s innovation strategy,” 130 (or 13.2 percent) said their company is effective at innovation. Of those 130 respondents, 105 (or 81 percent) said their company has a clear innovation strategy and are executing it.

    Out of the 868 respondents who answered the question, “Which of the following best characterizes how innovation occurs at your company?” 128 (or 15 percent) said their company is effective at innovation. Of those 128 respondents, 108 (of 84 percent) said their company uses a systematic process or methodology for innovation. The other 16 percent said innovation happens ad hoc.

    Now let’s look at the respondents who said their company was ineffective at innovation in that same group of 868. I grouped “somewhat ineffective” and “ineffective” respondents together. A total of 246 respondents said their company was somewhat ineffective or ineffective. Of those 246 respondents, only 22 (or 9 percent – I rounded up to 10) said their company uses a systematic process or methodology for innovation. This means that 91 percent do not.

    I was trying to show that the majority of effective innovation respondents (84 percent) have process and methodology, while the majority of ineffective innovation respondents (91 percent) do not have process and methodology.

    If the text in the press release or the blog entry are unclear I apologize. Let me know if you have any further questions.

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  3. Mike86

    I think it may have been the percentages in the text that were throwing me. The actual response numbers help a lot.

    What was the number of good process / method companies in the innovation mid-range? I’m assuming the innovation success question had 4-5 foils.

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  4. Michael Marx

    For those that said their company is "somewhat effective" at innovation (the mid-range) 43 percent of the 494 respondents said thier company uses a systematic process or methodology.

    Only 11 percent of the 197 respondents who said "somewhat innefective" also use a process/method.

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