Risk-averse culture means business is struggling to innovate

Risk-averse cultures, excessive red tape and time constraints are restricting innovation within large businesses, new research from Studio Graphene has found.

The London-based digital agency commissioned an independent survey of more than 750 senior decision-makers within UK organisations. It found that 71 per cent of organisations have budgets and resources dedicated to innovation, with this figure rising to 86 per cent among large businesses (those with over 250 employees).

The majority (56 per cent and 77 per cent of large businesses) have a team or department dedicated to innovation, while three quarters (75 per cent) meet more than once a month to discuss potential areas to creatively improve.

However, despite it being a priority for many organisations, most are struggling to become more innovative. In fact, half consider their rivals to be more innovative than they are; this figure jumps to 71 per cent among large businesses.

More than three-fifths (62 per cent) complain there are too many steps involved in getting management to give the go ahead for new ideas. This is particularly prevalent in large businesses (87 per cent).

Studio Graphene’s research also showed that 45 per cent of decision makers believe their organisation is too risk-averse to embrace new innovative technologies. The respondents also cited time constraints as a significant issue; 51 per cent feel they are too busy to think about innovation, with the number rising to 71 per cent in large companies.

“Innovation is one of the most used buzzwords in business – that’s because almost every organisation is, essentially, seeking new ways to improve what they do and how they do it,” Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said. “Unfortunately for large businesses, our research shows they are facing more pronounced challenges in their pursuit of innovation.

“Having budgets and personnel dedicated to innovation is one thing, but if the processes for creating and implementing new ideas are not in place then employees’ creative thinking is likely to get lost in a web of red tape and rejected by risk-averse managers.

“Companies, particularly large ones, must change their mindsets. They must create new structures to fast-track exciting ideas, and they must be ready to fail along the way because the long-term benefits of unearthing a great area for innovation will typically outweigh the odd unsuccessful project.”

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