YPO survey finds 57% of business leaders feel urgent need to innovate

Nearly half of global business leaders cited customers as their top source of innovation inspiration

Ypo, Survey, Innovation, Technology, Digitalisation

YPO, a global leadership organisation for more than 27,000 chief executives, conducted a survey of its members in over 130 countries. With more than 1,600 chief executive respondents, the study found that the 57% of global business leaders feel an urgent need to innovate now. 

Nearly half of global business leaders cited customers as their top source of innovation inspiration (48%) with employees (36%) ranking second. Consultants (10%) and think tanks (7%) lag far behind in the minds of respondents. The importance of keeping this key constituency happy is a focal point with nearly one in five respondents citing customer experience as their primary business area most needing innovation now. This ranks ahead of products, data/business intelligence and technology.

According to additional YPO Global Pulse findings, location, geographic location, industry, company size and length of job tenure greatly inform business leaders’ opinions and go-forward innovation action plans:

While the need to innovate is a top priority for global business leaders, only 4 in 10 strongly believe they have the appetite for experimentation. While 57% of chief executives strongly believe there is an urgent need for their business to be innovative, more than one-third of this group (37%) however indicated they are not likely to invest in innovation over the next 12 months.

Industry plays a significant role in business leaders’ attitudes toward risk in business with those executives in the IT & Software, Health Care and Advertising & Marketing industries embracing risk (more than 55% have an appetite for experimentation and risk) while leaders in the Distribution, Automotive and Apparel industries are more risk adverse (only 35% have an appetite for experimentation and risk).

Over the next 12 months, global business leaders who are extremely likely to invest will be doing so in products (45%), internal processes (44%) and technology (42%) to help them win customers.

Leaders of larger organizations ($250mn) indicate that innovation investment in the next 12 months will be targeted toward data/business intelligence (47%), while leaders of $25-250mn businesses plan to invest in technology (42%). Leaders of smaller organizations ($25mn or less) reported they will be focusing their spend in the next 12 months on product innovation (45%).

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