Innovation Benchmarking for Middle Market Companies

Executives and management experts cite innovation as crucial to growth; numerous studies correlate profitability with investment in R&D and the resulting introduction of new products and services. On a more exalted plane, innovation signifies an organization's cultural vitality, optimization of human capital, and vision and capability to contribute to progress. In a way, to call a firm "innovative" is the highest compliment one can pay.

Management writers helping companies maximize innovation tend to focus on getting the most from individuals and from teams. They advise business leaders, for example, to create fear-free cultures and to replace stage-gate development models with more-fluid, experimental environments. These insights are valuable but don't address the larger picture: the innovation infrastructure. Yes, companies want employees and teams to be prolific creators. But where in the organization do these creators reside? Who funds their activities? Who chooses among projects? What are companies' overarching innovation goals?

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