Study reveals that innovation leaders are 2.2X more likely to accelerate their way through economic uncertainty

The Dell Technologies Innovation Index, a new study polling 6,600 respondents across 45+ countries, including 100 from Ireland, reveals that Irish businesses are confident in the strength of their organisation’s innovation in the face of global challenges. Over three quarters (84%; Ireland: 78%) say that they agree their business has a vibrant culture of innovation, but the research shows a clear ‘innovation gap’ between perception and realisation.

To understand organisations’ innovation maturity across the globe, respondents were placed on an innovation maturity benchmark ranging from Innovation Leaders to Innovation Laggards. This reveals an innovation perception gap, as the results show, despite the positive view of innovative business cultures, only 18% (Ireland: 6%) of organisations worldwide can be defined as Innovation Leaders and Adopters.

This is important, as Innovation Leaders and Adopters are 2.2X more likely to accelerate their innovation during a recession than Innovation Followers and Laggards (who are more likely to decelerate). The good news is that the Innovation Index is a snapshot in time, and organisations can improve by priming their people, processes and technology for innovation.

People-primed innovation

Organisations need help to develop an innovation culture where all ideas can make a difference and learning through failure is encouraged. Businesses recognise this and are confident in their ability to deliver: over three quarters (78%; Ireland 68%) believe that, in part, people join their company because they believe they’ll be empowered to innovate, which is a major achievement.

However, they need to ensure that they fix the innovation gap. 59% (Ireland: 69%) of respondents believe people also leave their company because they haven’t been able to innovate as much as they hoped they would. And 64% (Ireland: 68%) say aspects of their company’s culture hold them back from being as innovative as they want to / can be.

The report also gives businesses a guide on how they can course-correct these issues, highlighting both opportunities to innovate more as well as the barriers that impact innovation.

Process-primed innovation

In addition to people-specific changes, businesses should also look at how they can improve their processes around innovation. The prime barrier to innovation for respondents’ teams is a lack of time to innovate, which underscores the importance of senior leaders modelling prioritisation. Presently, 68% (Ireland: 53%) of respondents say their leaders are more focused on the day-to-day running of the business than innovation. Without true, visible commitment at a leadership level, ambitious, skilled individuals can’t achieve their full potential on innovation.

Providing more structure around innovation can also lead to better outcomes. While by its nature, innovation may be seen as an organic, ad-hoc pursuit, 63% (Ireland: 50%) of Innovation Leaders and Adopters say their innovation is driven by special, dedicated projects.

Technology-primed innovation

The study findings point to the power of technology to enable innovation, and the consequences of falling behind. The vast majority (86%; Ireland: 80%) are actively seeking out technologies to help them realise their innovation goal. Conversely, 57% (Ireland: 61%) believe their technology is not cutting-edge and fear they will fall behind their competitors.

The study also explores where organisations are making gains and facing obstacles, across five technology catalysts for innovation: multicloud, edge, modern data infrastructure, anywhere-work and cybersecurity. In nearly all areas, the greatest stumbling block to unlocking that potential is complexity.

These struggles are evident in the top-cited global technology obstacles to innovation:

—  Growing cloud costs

—  Difficulties integrating the overall business architecture with the IT infrastructure architecture

—  Time and money spent to migrate apps to new cloud environments

—  Cybersecurity threats: can’t innovate with data and insecure edge devices

—  Lack of IT infrastructure to meet and process data at the edge

“In the context of non-stop change and uncertainty, it’s never been more important for Irish businesses to innovate. Resilient organisations with a culture of innovation are best placed to drive growth and compete internationally,” says Jason Ward, Vice President and Managing Director, Dell Technologies Ireland.

“The new Dell Technologies Innovation Index showcases that businesses across Ireland can innovate at speed once they have the right people, processes and technology. It’s clear from the research that small, small, practical ideas can create a ripple effect that leads to greater productivity, profitability and purpose. By embracing breakthrough technologies, building a culture where learning through failure is encouraged and embedding data-driven processes at every level, Irish businesses can become global innovation leaders.”

To support organisations on their innovation journey, Dell Technologies will share “lessons from Innovation Leaders and Adopters”. Visit www.dell.com/innovationindex for more information and read our executive summary report.