PwC innovation study


This article is a companion piece to the ezine Incite no.66  “Increase margins through the application of creativity and innovation.”

Comments are welcome!

In 2000, PricewaterhouseCoopers carried out a major study of innovation. They found that “most companies fail to take advantage of good ideas… the main reason is poor Idea Management”.

Their Innovation Report identifies three main success factors,

  • Leadership & Followership
  • Climate & Environment
  • Structured Idea Management Process – gathering ideas widely from employees, customers and supply chain partners


The PwC study shows that it is mainly Idea Management activity which sets the most innovative companies apart.


What is the best environment for innovation?

The myths

The facts of successful innovators

  • “Only small or new companies innovate”
  • Success is not confined to any specific categories of age, size, sector or geographic region
  • “One great idea is all we need – don’t waste time generating mediocre ones”
  • Create a climate in which ideas can reach their potential
  • “Better play safe – stick to what we know”
  • Actively seek new points of view and give people discretion to take risks
  • “Innovation is a part-time activity”
  • Embed innovation into everyday ways of working

Do we really need a process?

The myths

The facts of successful innovators

  • “Innovation is haphazard – you just need luck”
  • Use a wide range of mechanisms as part of an overall Idea Management process: the best new ideas may come from surprising sources
  • “We know what our customers want”
  • Research customers, non-customers, suppliers and the wider environment rather than make assumptions
  • “Market knowledge is best held by specialists”
  • Broaden the scope of innovation to create new possibilities
  • “We don’t need a process – we run idea workshops”
  • Use a clear and structured idea / innovation management process


Where do ideas come from?

  •  46% from customers, suppliers and market intelligence
  • 29% from employees
  • 11% from specialists
  • 9% from research and development
  • 5% from competitors