Last Friday, the NussbaumOnDesign blog at Business Week Online shared some headline results from a recent BCG survey that reveal what I regard as a troubling disconnect between how corporate CEOs and their managers and employees view innovation. Here are the key points:
- Some 81% of CEOs believe innovation is a top priority for their companies while only 63% of lower-level execs share this view.
- Some 76% of CEOs believe their companies foster a culture of innovation, but 51% of lower level execs and employees disagree.
- Some 66% of CEOs say their senior management teams share a common view on managing innovation but only 53% of non-CEOs agree.
- Some 56% of CEOs believe their companies have the right organization structure already in place to generate innovation. But 56% of lower-level people do not agree.
Troubling, but not terribly surprising. I think it is fair to say that most CEOs are out of touch with what is actually happening inside their companies, so some difference of views on innovation is to be expected. Nevertheless, I still find these results quite concerning because they reflect some real gaps between leadership intentions and organizational reality that ultimately hurt our customers and damages our companies' prospects in the marketplace.
The challenge for the daily innovator is clear: we must take steps on our own initiative to begin closing the gaps reflected in these survey results. The more we can do to fill the void by helping to create an innovation-friendly culture or an actual process for supporting innovation, the better off our organizations will be in the long run. We already know that this isn't easy work, but we now have some additional evidence that confirms why it is so important.