Most Organizations are not Meeting their Innovation Goals, and Lack the Leadership Competencies to Innovate Successfully, According to a DHR International Sponsored Survey Conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services

October, 2018

Press Releases

Only 16 percent of executives surveyed believe that their companies have been effective in meeting innovation goals  


Chicago, IL – While most companies think that having an innovation-driven and focused culture is strategically important, most business leaders believe that their organizations are not meeting innovation goals, and lack the leadership competencies to innovate successfully, according to a DHR International sponsored survey conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. Among other key survey results, only 16 percent of business leaders surveyed believe that their companies have been effective in meeting innovation goals.    

The survey measured and gauged the views of 636 respondents across various geographies, including North America, EMEA, Asia/Pacific, and Latin America.  Nearly 50 percent of survey respondents were from organizations with $1 billion, or more, in revenue, and 25 percent of respondents from organizations with 10,000, or more, employees.         

Other key survey findings include the following: 

  • 85 percent of respondents consider the CEO to be the most important executive to lead innovation efforts. 
  • Only 14 percent of respondents believe that their organizations are effective at acquiring, developing and retaining leaders with the right skill sets and competencies; industry pacesetter organizations fare much better, with nearly half of these pacesetters indicating that their organizations are effective at acquiring, retaining and developing leaders.    
  • 44 percent of those surveyed believe that their company leaders have the strategic vision to innovate successfully. 
  • 45 percent of respondents defined their innovation focus as transforming their existing business models, products and services to leapfrog competitors; 28 percent said they want to keep pace with industry changes. 
  • Only 16 percent of respondents, overall, said that most of their current board members possess the necessary skills to oversee innovation; nearly one-third of respondents reported that their boards have a committee dedicated to innovation.    

DHR International CEO, Geoff Hoffmann, commented, “In the executive recruitment business, never have we seen and experienced as much fundamental change in our industry as we are today, due in large part to the rapid pace of innovation among industries and organizations.”  Hoffmann added, “As this survey indicates, there is a real disconnect.  While most companies view innovation as being an important strategic component, the vast majority of survey respondents believe that their organizations are not meeting innovation goals.  Our view is that, over time, there will be a shift as organizations increasingly, albeit slowly, apply the lessons learned from the innovation pacesetters in their respective industries.” 

Alex Clemente, Managing Director, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, said, “As evidenced by the survey results, the overriding problem seems to be that most companies have not defined what innovative leadership means to them, nor have they built programs for developing key competencies for effective approaches.  Clemente added, “In comparing the industry pacesetters versus other organizations surveyed, having C-level leaders and board members with the right competencies is the foundation in which an innovative organization is built.”   



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