Executives and managers routinely talk about the importance of innovation, but turning talk into reality isn’t easy.

Nearly everyone who took part in our 500-person client panel said innovation is a key driver of success (94%), and 77% said that their organizations have made attempts to improve innovation. Even so, just 14% are confident about their organization’s ability to drive innovation effectively.

Why do so many organizations struggle with innovation?


Innovation Efforts Fall Short

In every industry and sector, leaders are faced with the need to achieve growth, define new products and services, enter new markets, create better internal processes and business models, and develop new global strategies. Innovation is routinely touted as the key to future success for today’s companies and as the engine that creates new businesses. Responding to these needs takes tremendous efforts, and many executives, managers, and human resources professionals are unsure how to drive innovation alongside the day-to-day operations.

A survey of 600 senior leaders by Deloitte accurately reflects our work and conversations with clients: Leaders who seek innovation but are unsure how to make it happen can easily undermine innovation goals.

In fact, leadership behavior contributes from 20% to 67% of the climate for creativity in organizations, according to research from creativity researcher Goran Ekvall.

We argue that leadership is the most important factor needed to foster creativity and fuel innovation at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Leaders must act in ways that promote and support innovation in their culture.


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