Pandemic Spurs Interest In Corporate Innovation

Sept. 22, 2021
New report from Wellspring reveals that longstanding innovation ops issues constitute a deep-seated risk to corporate growth performance.

Wellspring releases its third-annual R&D and innovation study. Polling over 25 senior decision makers – directors, managers, VPs and C-suite executives – at companies with annual revenues of at least $1 billion from around the U.S. and U.K. chemical industry, the study examines key topics and trends that have dominated the corporate innovation sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. While innovation ambitions have grown as a result of the pandemic, according to the study, longstanding internal “innovation ops” issues threaten to derail future growth, resulting in wasted resources, capital and revenue opportunities for corporations.

“The pandemic has driven an exciting shift in innovation interest among both corporate boardrooms and the general public,” says Robert Lowe, CEO and co-founder of Wellspring. “Unfortunately, per our findings, it has also exposed what many observers of corporate innovation have known for years -- that a vast majority of today’s corporations simply fail to employ many of the necessary habits that translate into tangible, long-term innovation success.”

The COVID-19 pandemic represents one of the most disruptive and unsettling periods in corporate innovation history. This has resulted in widespread efforts by chemical corporations to overhaul their innovation ops in hopes of responding effectively to a myriad of supply chain disturbances, demand explosions, digital transformation needs and other issues, according to Wellspring.

According to this year’s study:

● 60% of respondents reported that their corporate innovation budgets were expected to increase – with many respondents saying they expected a major bump in investment. This statistic dwarfs those companies anticipating budget cuts by a six-to-one ratio.

● 57% of respondents said that they are interested in being leaders and disruptors in innovation vs. following the pack.

Despite the promise of growing innovation ambitions, many chemical corporations lack the cohesive approach needed to drive material success from their investments. Of particular concern is that these execution-related missteps are wide-ranging and interconnected, -- spanning C-suite buy-in and coordination issues to poorly constructed innovation metrics and measurements.

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