Creativity & Innovation Highlight Report

By i4cp/HRI

Enterprise-wide innovation may give firms an important, hard-to-duplicate competitive edge

Thoughts of innovation permeate today's business world. The motivations for this focus include market advantages related to customers and competition and workforce advantages related to talent and performance, according to a study reviewed in the Journal of Business Research (Simpson, Siguaw, & Enz, 2006). But perhaps a comprehensive 2006 study conducted by HRI (i4cp's predecessor) and the American Management Association titled The Quest for Innovation said it most succinctly: "...innovation is a prerequisite for success - and perhaps even for survival."

Far more than the traditional view of research and development (R&D) geared toward breakthrough discoveries or incremental product enhancements, today's focal point is on enterprise-wide innovation, recognizing the importance of creative thinking in every aspect of business. It is here - in a firm's processes, operations, organizational structures and business models - that innovation can truly become a differentiator.

Still, investments in R&D, numbers of patents and other traditional innovation indicators are valued as a reflection of continuing commitment to innovation, and some of those measures portray a healthy respect for its importance. Total R&D spending in the U.S. alone was forecasted to top $338 billion in 2007, an increase of 2.85% over 2006 expenditures, with the majority going to development ($203.0 billion), according to research from analysts Battelle in Columbus, OH, and R&D Magazine (Duga, Grueber, & Studt, 2007).

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