2012 IQ Survey Reveals Traits of Innovators

Organizations that make a deliberate choice to build and nourish innovation can earn a significant payoff for their efforts. This conclusion is among the results of the second annual Innovation Quotient (IQ) Survey released September 17, 2012, by the public accounting, tax, and consulting firm Plante Moran and the executive education and innovation training institute NewNorth Center.

Numerous studies have shown the connection between innovation and revenue growth. The IQ Survey report goes one step further and turns the results of the 2012 survey of more than 550 innovators into a valuable self-improvement guide for the leaders of businesses, not-for-profits, and public sector organizations.

Four Kinds of Innovators

The report identifies four tiers of innovators who demonstrate how organizations can move up the innovation ladder and improve their financial results by adopting the proven practices of innovation-driven companies.

Accidental innovators: This group dabbles with innovation when a unique idea hits and they have a champion who drags the idea on to commercialization. The survey found they were able to generate 11.1 percent of revenue from new products or services, and typically initiate new products, services, or processes in response to comments from customers and constituents or from a need to improve quality, rather than from a culture of innovation.

Disciplined innovators: This group establishes systems such as cross-functional work teams, budgets, work plans, and inclusion of innovation in the strategic plan. Their innovation ideas are more likely to be driven by strategy, entering new markets, and increasing operational flexibility and capacity. The disciplined innovators generated 15 percent of revenue from new products in the last three years, according to survey results.
Top innovators. This group generated 21 percent of their revenue from products or services that were introduced in the last three years They embody innovation throughout the organization, starting with corporate strategy, and they had more registered innovation (trademarks, copyrights, and patents) and types of innovation (product, process, and systems).
Superstar innovators. This elite tier adopts deliberate innovation practices, budgets for innovation to meet strategy goals, and publicly rewards people for ideas that emerge. This select group innovates in all methods - process, product, and service with new product/services in the last three years that accounted for 23.3 percent of their revenue.
"On average, survey respondents said they generated 16 percent of their revenue from new products or services introduced in the last three years," said Jeff Mengel, a Plante Moran partner who specializes in manufacturing and distribution and who led the IQ Survey report team. "Those who achieve superstar status have innovation-hungry cultures we can all learn from."
This year's survey asked specific questions of financial, manufacturing, government, education, and not-for-profit institutions. Readers of the report can put these statistical findings in perspective by comparing their own innovation experience with the real-life stories of others in their industry. Among the leaders who tell their stories are:
  • The global sustainability director at business furniture maker Steelcase in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the executive director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Greater Illinois Regional Chapter, who talk about using innovation to fulfill the missions of their organizations.
  • The presidents of two Indiana banks who discuss the importance of sharing ideas and the need for better products from their software vendors.
  • An innovation consultant with offices in Detroit and Barcelona, Spain, who introduces collaboration in innovation ecosystems as a way to assemble the talent and resources needed for breakthrough innovation.
  • The CEO of a senior care provider with locations in Michigan and Illinois who addresses the inevitability of change in health care.
  • An innovation trainer from Cincinnati who explains the importance of a process that includes rules for when to abandon an idea.
All survey participants will receive a customized report benchmarking their organization's Innovation Quotient. To see the complete survey results, click here. A webinar on the survey results will be held September 21, 2012.
Related articles:
Source: Plante Moran News Release

You may like these other stories...

Many firms these days claim the bulk of their new business comes from referrals, essentially saying their existing clients do all the business development for them. But this won't work unless you can build true client...
No field likes its buzzwords more than technology, and one of today's leading terms is "the cloud." But it's not just a matter of knowing what's fashionable. Accounting professionals who know how to use...
With tomorrow being Tax Day, you might see some procrastinators at your office filling out forms, printing out paperwork, or getting last-minute tax advice from their accountant so they can meet the IRS’s filing...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 17
In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares tricks that you can use with pivot tables every day. Remember, either you work Excel, or it works you!
Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.