How High-Growth Companies Innovate

March 10, 2011 at 9:03 AM Leave a comment

Tired of talk about innovation? Want to see some hard figures?

Recently we did a study of the innovation strategies of 143 companies, and how those strategies correlated with their success. The study was for NWFPA’s Innovation and Productivity Center. What we found was very instructive.

To get a clear picture of the companies, we surveyed executives about how they approached the 3 dimensions of innovation:

  • Product innovation – dreaming up new widgets
  • Process innovation – making widgets faster and more efficiently
  • Promise innovation – creating business models that bring customers new value

Then we segmented the companies into no-growth, growth and high-growth categories.

Now, 98% of companies we surveyed said that innovation was important. But talk is cheap. How did their actual behavior correlate with their bottom line?

  • No-growth companies stressed process innovation. They were always trying to do the same stuff faster and cheaper
  • Growth companies focused on process and product innovation. Also, they co-innovated upstream with their suppliers as a team to make improvements.
  • High-growth companies emphasized process, product and promise innovation, and used all three dimensions of innovation upstream with suppliers, and downstream with customers. So they were co-innovating with suppliers and customers to not only do things better and faster, but bring new value to both groups.

Once again, the data shows that promise innovation is the key to real growth.


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Thompson Morrison

Thompson Morrison

About Thompson

As CEO of FUSE Insight, Thompson Morrison uses powerful new web interviewing technologies to help businesses better align their brand with the needs and aspirations of their customers. Learn more at


"The single most significant strategic strength that an organization can have is not a good strategic plan, but a commitment to strategic listening on the part of every member of the organization." -- Tom Peters



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