Survey: Innovation is a top management imperative

  • IT Management
  • About ServiceNow
  • Trends and Research
  • 2022
  • Lana Gates
October 25, 2022

Innovation is a top management imperative: man standing in a corner office overlooking a city

Forward-thinking organizations prioritize innovation—and for good reason. “It’s never been clearer that those who embrace a culture of innovation and digital transformation are going to have the best chance to thrive,” notes ServiceNow Chief Strategy Officer Nick Tzitzon, guest editor of the Fall 2022 Workflow Quarterly.

Research by ServiceNow and ThoughtLab confirms this insight. Of 1,000 C-level executives surveyed in five industries across 13 countries, 51% reported increased revenue or sales as a result of innovation. Other benefits include improved customer satisfaction (40%), better products (39%), decreased costs (36%), and new business models (36%).


The role of people

Although 41% of survey respondents believe modernizing IT platforms is the most effective step in building an innovation culture, they recognize innovation is as much about people as it is about technology.

Innovation leaders have taken steps to ensure adequate staffing, conduct change management activities, coordinate across departments, cast vision and objectives, and develop roles and responsibilities to cultivate an innovation culture.

That focus on people extends to decision-making. Nearly nine in 10 organizations involve senior management and the board in key decisions about innovation. More than a third take input from business partners and regulators. Yet, only 11% of organizations involve customers in these decisions. Even fewer (5%) organizations consult their own employees.

Stakeholders involved in innovative decisions: 88% senior management and board, 37% business partners, 34% regulators, 23% startups and tech firms; 16% shareholders and investors, 12% suppliers and vendors, 11% local communities, customers, and consultants and outsourcing firms, 5% employees, industry groups, trade unions, 3% academic institutions, research groups

Overcoming obstacles

Clearly, there’s a lot of work to do. More than a third (35%) of organizations say they lack sufficient training, skills, and talent to make significant progress on their innovation agendas. Two in 10 have no team or role responsible for innovation. And 27% complain their employees are slow to embrace innovation initiatives.

High costs can inhibit innovation efforts, deterring 42% of survey respondents. Inadequate data management systems (40%) are another hurdle to adoption.

Getting past those obstacles offers much promise. “Regardless of the sector, innovation equals growth,” according to the ThoughtLab report. “Greater revenue or sales is the number one benefit listed by all industries in the sample.”

Gain more insights in the Workflow Quarterly Fall 2022 issue, including the importance of involving customers and employees in decisions about innovation.

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