Customers seen as top source of innovation inspiration — survey

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BUSINESS leaders around the globe are taking cues from their customers to introduce more innovations, according to a global pulse survey conducted by international leadership organization Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

In its 2019 Global Pulse Innovation Survey, YPO found that 48% of its 1,661 chief executive respondents cited customers as their top source of innovation inspiration. Employees were the second source of inspiration at 36%, followed by consultants and think tanks at 10% and 7%, respectively.

“The importance of keeping this key constituency happy is a focal point with nearly one in five respondents citing customer experience as their primary business area most needing innovation now. This ranks ahead of products, data/business intelligence and technology,” YPO said in a statement issued Thursday.

Business leaders also take into account their location, industry, company size, and length of job tenure in forming their innovation action plans.

Results of the survey showed that while 57% of the business leaders recognize the urgent need to innovate, 37% of the group said they are unlikely to innovate in the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, those who are extremely likely to invest in the same time period plan to do so in products, internal processes, and technology, in a bid to win more customers.

Businesses in IT & software, health care, and advertising & marketing industries were seen to embrace risks more, as the survey showed that more than 55% had an appetite for experimentation. Those in the distribution, automotive, and apparel industries were more risk adverse, with only 35% showing their willingness to experiment and take risks.

YPO also found that more leaders agree that the changing market conditions are redefining their business, more than technology or new competitors. This is more apparent for respondents in the United Kingdom.

On the other hand, business leaders in Latin America and Asia are more concerned that changes in technology are making their business models obsolete.

Leaders of large organizations, which YPO defined to be valued at over $250 million, cited that new competitors are increasingly becoming a threat to their traditional businesses, as compared to smaller businesses being concerned with the matter.

At the same time, chief executives who have headed their company for a year or less are more inclined to believe that their competitors are innovating faster than they are at 18%, compared to all leaders which averaged at six percent.

YPO’s survey was conducted from April 29 to May 6 through an online questionnaire sent to 1,661 of its members. The business leaders came from across 34 industries in 105 countries. — Arra B. Francia