Welcome to the 11th edition of Chief Innovation Officer.
Innovation has been a buzzword for a long time now, so much so that no company worth its salt has no consideration for the creation and incubation of good ideas. When many think of innovation, the mind immediately turns to the United States. Silicon Valley’s worldwide fame, coupled with the number of undeniably innovative tech giants produced by the US in the past couple of decades, has cultivated an opinion among many that the US the undisputed home of innovation.
In reality, the US sits fourth in the Global Innovation Index’s top 25 most innovative countries of 2016, behind Switzerland (first), Sweden (second) and the United Kingdom (third). The report takes into account factors like market sophistication, creative output, research and infrastructure. Though the US’ position is admirable, as the world’s biggest economy one might expect it to be.
Making its way into the top 25 for the first time is China - in fact, it’s the first time a middle-income nation has made the list of otherwise highly developed countries. Positive investment in R&D has been a boon for the innovation sector in the world’s second-largest economy, but innovation requires continuous investment, and China’s economic slowdown is a cause for concern. In this edition, Jaz Khan assesses how far China actually is from closing the innovation gap.
Another recent topic for debate is the many different forms of innovation that companies are striving to achieve. Continuous innovation has emerged as an alternative to the overused notion of ‘disruptive innovation,’ open innovation has grown in popularity but the reservations around its use are still prominent and real, and data-driven innovation is all but a necessity in an age defined by its collection of information. In this issue, we take a look at all three, as well as the guidelines companies should follow as they look to maintain their innovation programs in the long-term. Even large companies need to remember to innovate, and decades of success shouldn’t dull that edge, tempting as it is to feel comfortable.
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