Corporate Eye

Only 3 out of 10 Companies Have New Product Innovation Programs

innovation new product development ideaAccording to the 2014 Media Growth Study from Econsultancy, only three out of 10 companies actually develop new product ideas through formal innovation programs. However, nearly the same number of respondents to the Econsultancy survey also said that new product and service development is expected to be the most important driver of growth over the next two years. Furthermore, more than one out of two top executives also believe that their biggest-selling products three years from now have not been created yet. They haven’t even been invented yet.

In other words, innovation is critical to growth but companies are not effectively prioritizing innovation through strategic and tactical innovation programs.

The reason for this lack of innovation is unlikely to come as a surprise to brand marketers. As you might expect, the study respondents reported that four out of five new product ideas come from senior management. It’s hard for a company to be innovative when product ideas are being mandated by a small group of executives.

There is hope for improved innovation though. Nearly three out of four respondents to the Econsultancy study said that new product ideas come from customers, which is an important driver of innovation. The third most common source of new product ideas, according to this study, is the sales and marketing team. Nearly two out of three respondents indicated that new ideas come from the sales and marketing team.

Following are the stats from the Econsultancy study, which identify where survey respondents said new product ideas come from for their companies:

  • Senior management = 80%
  • Customer requests = 72%
  • Sales and marketing team = 62%
  • Competitors and market dynamics = 56%
  • Defined innovation program = 31%
  • Vendor and partner ideas = 30%
  • External consultant or agency = 14%
  • Other = 5%

With that said, the best innovation program should include the entire company and customers. It’s not enough to just set up an “Ideas” box in the lobby or ask employees to send in ideas at specific times throughout the year. Every department should be required to hold innovation meetings where ideas are allowed to form and grow. Google is well-known for its culture of innovation where employees are encouraged to come up with new product or product enhancement ideas constantly. Integrate innovation into every aspect of your company and make it a key component of your company culture, and new products will have a better chance of succeeding.

If the majority of your company’s new product ideas are coming from top executives, then your company has a problem.

Is your company innovative? Leave a comment and share your thoughts below.

 Image: Raja R.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.