Tag Archives: Surveys

CEOs Say Creativity is the Most Critical Factor for Future Success

CEOs Say Creativity is the Most Critical Factor for Future Success

GUEST POST from Linda Naiman

According to the IBM 2010 Global CEO Study, which surveyed 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, CEOs believe that,

“More than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision — successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.”

IBM CEO Study: Creative Leadership

CEOs say creativity helps them capitalise on complexity

“The effects of rising complexity calls for CEOs and their teams to lead with bold creativity, connect with customers in imaginative ways and design their operations for speed and flexibility to position their organisations for twenty-first century success.”

Amen to that! If we are going to find solutions in a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected and complex, we cannot rely on traditional ways of leading and managing.

Creativity is the most important leadership quality

Facing a world becoming dramatically more complex, it is interesting that CEOs selected creativity as the most important leadership attribute. Creative leaders invite disruptive innovation, encourage others to drop outdated approaches and take balanced risks. They are open-minded and inventive in expanding their management and communication styles, particularly to engage with a new generation of employees, partners and customers.

High-performing CEOs practice and encourage experimentation and innovation throughout their organisations. Creative leaders expect to make deeper business model changes to realise their strategies. To succeed, they take more calculated risks, find new ideas and keep innovating in how they lead and communicate.

The most successful organisations co-create products and services with customers, and integrate customers into core processes.

They are adopting new channels to engage and stay in tune with customers. By drawing more insight from the available data, successful CEOs make customer intimacy their number one priority.

95 percent of top performing organizations identified getting closer to customers as their most important strategic initiative over the next five years – using Web, interactive, and social media channels to rethink how they engage with customers and citizens. They view the historic explosion of information and global information flows as opportunities, rather than threats.

Better performers manage complexity on behalf of their organisations, customers and partners.

They do so by simplifying operations and products, and increasing dexterity to change the way they work, access resources and enter markets around the world. Compared to other CEOs, dexterous leaders expect 20 percent more future revenue to come from new sources. 54 percent of CEOs from top performing companies indicated they are learning to respond swiftly with new ideas to address the deep changes affecting their organizations.


IBM 2010 Global CEO Study: Creativity Selected as Most Crucial Factor for Future Success — May 18, 2010

My reflection

As a practitioner in the world of business creativity and innovation over the past twenty years, I am heartened by this encouraging news. We’ve all been tracking the success of innovators at companies like Google and Apple, and now it looks like a second wave of creativity and innovation is penetrating C-level leadership. We truly have entered the Age of Creativity.

Whole Brain Creativity

Develop creative leadership in your business:

  • Discover your Creativity and Innovation styles
  • Leverage the four intelligences of creative thinking in your team
  • Develop a language and structure for managing the creative process
  • Create a climate conductive to fostering creativity and innovation
  • Design and conduct high-performance idea-generation/problem-solving sessions
  • Recognize when and how creativity is stifled and be able to prevent this
  • Build innovation and critical thinking into individual and teamwork processes.

Image credits: Pixabay and Linda Naiman

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What is your level of Innovation Maturity?

Innovation Maturity Introduction

When it comes to innovation, no two companies are likely to be pursuing innovation in the same way, and they are also likely to be at different stages of innovation maturity. Because of this, even if you found out what your competitor’s innovation strategy was, it would be of no use to you. It is necessary for an innovation strategy to be tailored to your organization’s level of innovation maturity, your corporate strategy, and your innovation vision.

Free Innovation Maturity AssessmentAn organization’s innovation maturity level is important because you must first master a certain set of basic innovation capabilities before implementing more advanced innovation approaches into your strategy. For example, an organization just getting started on their innovation journey would be foolish to try and implement open innovation in their organization. Every organization should get their idea generation (including evolution), idea evaluation, and idea commercialization policies and processes working well with their employees first before opening themselves up to the outside world. Your organization’s innovation strategy must be appropriate to your level of innovation maturity for your innovation efforts to be successful.

I developed the graphic below to explain the different levels of innovation maturity based on some thinking from Wharton professors Christian Terwiesch and Karl T. Ulrich, and I think it allows executives to determine at a glance where their organization is across the spectrum. I hope you find it useful.

Free Innovation Maturity Assessment

Special OfferTo help people evaluate their level of innovation maturity against the above graphic, I am sharing the 50 question innovation maturity assessment I use with clients. The assessment is most powerful when answers are gathered at multiple levels of the organization across several groups and several sites, but you can also fill it out yourself and get instant feedback – for FREE.

To get even more out of the innovation maturity assessment, for a nominal fee, I can help you organize a multiple group and/or multiple physical location survey of people in the organization to capture not just your level of innovation maturity, but also to provide preliminary innovation diagnostics on the areas of innovation challenge and opportunity in your organization.

I can set up a research study to capture a baseline innovation maturity level and analyze the data to unlock insights about the relative health of your innovation efforts. For a limited time, I will provide this service for the special introductory price of $499.99.

Click here to purchase the innovation diagnostic service
(Get help using the innovation maturity assessment across multiple sites and job functions and analyzing the results)

Innovation Maturity Model

Innovation Maturity Assessment Scoring Key (showing level of maturity)

Point totals are translated to the innovation maturity model as follows:

  • 000-100 = Level 1 – Reactive
  • 101-130 = Level 2 – Structured
  • 131-150 = Level 3 – In Control
  • 151-180 = Level 4 – Internalized
  • 181-200 = Level 5 – Continuously Improving

Click to begin the Innovation Maturity Assessment here online
(We’ll email your score with the maturity model and scoring key)

Innovation Maturity Assessment Instructions

1. Read each statement and determine how much you agree with each one, using this scale:

  • 0 – None
  • 1 – A Little
  • 2 – Partially
  • 3 – Often
  • 4 – Fully

2. Select the answer for each question that is most appropriate.

The form will score the innovation maturity assessment and return a result to you via email along with the SCORING KEY and the Innovation Maturity Model graphic. Store the result as a baseline and come back annually and re-take the assessment to measure your progress!

Click to begin the Innovation Maturity Assessment here online
(We’ll email your score with the maturity model and scoring key)

Click here to purchase the innovation diagnostic service
(Get help using the innovation maturity assessment across multiple sites and job functions and analyzing the results)

* Graphic adapted from the book Innovation Tournaments by Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich

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Is Innovation a Priority for CEOs?

Is Innovation a Priority for CEOs?

We’d all like to be the best at everything and to make everything a priority, but that’s just not the real world.

So what did CEOs say was their priority when they were surveyed by KPMG for their Global CEO Outlook 2015.

Here are nine of the key findings from the report:

  1. 62% of CEOs are optimistic on the economy
  2. 54% are optimistic on company performance
  3. 74% believe the competitive environment is getting tougher
  4. 52% believe aggressive growth strategies prevail
  5. 30% feel they are not risking enough for growth
  6. 86% are concerned about the loyalty of their customers
  7. 42% are pursuing a mix of both organic and inorganic growth
  8. 47% of CEOs are pursuing significant geographic expansion
  9. 73% feel regulatory environment having a big impact on their business

It is also interesting that American CEOs are more pessimistic about growth prospects than their international brethren:

KPMG CEOs Confidence

Especially given that survey respondents see the greatest potential for growth in the United States:

KPMG Growth Potential

And while American, German, and Japanese CEOs definitely live in the most mature markets, part of their growth pessimism may come from more completely grasping the impact of the top four concerns of CEOs voiced in the survey:

KPMG Top 4 Concerns

“Maintaining status quo, while incredibly comfortable, is the most risky thing you can do in today’s world.” – Mark A. Goodburn, Global Head of Advisory, KPMG

Most interesting for me is the chart at the very top that shows fostering innovation as a lower priority than developing new growth strategies. Obviously innovation is just one component of any holistic growth strategy, but shouldn’t fostering innovation be a little more important if CEOs hope to create sustainable growth?

But it shouldn’t be surprising that this option scored the lowest, because my experience has been that leaders want innovation but they often aren’t willing to invest the dollars required when the rubber hits the road, and even more troublesome is that many leaders don’t understand how to foster innovation. Most CEOs see innovation as a project and not as an organizational capability they need to develop in order to help fend off disruption. Anyways, here are the top three barriers to innovation CEOs identified in the survey:

  1. Rapidly changing customer dynamics
  2. Unsure of which technologies will deliver the greatest return
  3. Budget constraints

Maybe there is no money for innovation and companies are so worried about disruption is because the survey tagged the CFO as the executive gaining the most clout in the C-suite and the CIO came in last. Just a thought.

So what’s holding you back from making sustained innovation a priority?

Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Your Chance to Help Change Change

Your Chance to Help Change ChangeMy first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire was designed to help organizations identify and remove barriers to innovation, but readers also found it to be a great primer on how to take a structured, sustainable approach to innovation, and as a result the book has found its way into university courses and libraries around the world.

I’ve been thinking over the last few years about where I could provide the most value in a follow-up book, and it came to me that innovation is really all about change and that where most organizations fail to achieve innovation is in successfully making all of the changes necessary to transform their inventions into innovations. At the same time, the world has changed, the pace of change is accelerating and organizations are struggling to cope with the speed of changes required of them, including the digital transformation they need to make.

So, my next book, this time for Palgrave Macmillan, will focus on highlighting the best practices and next practices of organizational change. And where does any successful change effort begin?

With good planning. But it is really hard for most people to successfully plan a change effort, because it is hard to visualize everything that needs to be considered and everything that needs to be done to affect the changes necessary to support an innovation, a digital transformation effort, a merger integration, or any other kind of needed organizational change.

But my Change Planning Toolkit™ and my new book (January 2016) are being designed to help you get everyone literally all on the same page for change. Both the book and my collaborative, visual Change Planning Toolkit™ are nearly complete. But before they are, I’d like to engage you, the intelligent, insightful Innovation Change Management community to help contribute your wisdom and experience to the book.

I’m looking for a few change management tips and quotes attributable to you (not someone else) to include in the book along with the other best practices and next practices of organizational change that I’ve collected and the introduction to my Change Planning Toolkit™ that I’m preparing.

It’s super simple to contribute. Just fill out the form, and the best contributions will make it into the book or into a series of articles that I’ll publish here and on a new site focused on organizational change that I’m about ready to launch.

I look forward to seeing your great organizational change quotes and tips!

UPDATE: The book is now out! Grab a copy here:

Accelerate your change and transformation success

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