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eu innovation performance

EU Innovation Performance 2014

Browsing the innovation reports this week, I noticed the EUs Innovation Scorecard 2014.  I’m interested in panning for gold, so bring these insights to you so you don’t have to read the 100 page report.

Some of the findings also corroborate with other reports.  The recent article in The Guardian reminds us of the following virtuous chain of events,

Innovation => Economic Growth => Social Growth => Happiness

I’m a bit concerned about the UK.  And here’s why.

We get an A-/B+ compared with EU’s “A” but consider that against “A*” Korea, USA and Japan.  In EU terms, UK ranks as an “Innovation Follower” compared with the Innovation Leaders of Germany, Sweden and Top of the Pops, Switzerland.  Though ahead of the BRICs – not looking so good for them with relative stagnation, excepting China moderately improving.

On the positives.  The UK does well on human-related factors like skills and knowledge pumping out a good number of post-docs.  We are good on publishing and do well on openly networking and collaborating.  UK also ranks relatively well on entrepreneurial factors.

Where the UK is pulled down is in intellectual asset management, VC investment and firms reducing innovation activities, from a relatively low starting base.  The Thompson Reuters report 2014 points out that there are no UK companies in the top 100 global innovators. None. And the UK plc lags peers like France underspending in innovation activities by 50%.

I see a pattern emerging.  SMEs have backed off on product and process innovation and are now in danger of reducing sales from new products. That after a long recessionary-type period, firms have squeezed, and now there is little left in the tank.  One of my inside contacts (very Le Carre) suggests many SMEs came very close to the end and now have to rebuild new offerings; which mean they need to get innovating, and fast.

So, What to Do?

Great returns from innovation result from doing the right things in the first place and then executing them well.  Forget worrying about the outcomes (not enough new products, too few patents, slipping sales as a percentage of new products).

Focus instead on what you do to generate ideas, build your staff capability, use the right management tools and create incentives to innovate.

In summary, work on building a Growth Engine – a powerful and capable machine that will build your revenues every single day.

Then, call or email Rob to talk about how we can start on this journey.

Rob Munro

So, what do you think ?

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