When one of the giants of industry, in this case, General Electric, takes a position on a topic, and supports that position not just with money and commitment, but sets out to persuade anyone who will listen to adjust their own perspective for everyone’s good, we should all listen.

    GE undertook a business transformation driven by the 6 sigma developments of Motorola, and made 6 sigma the management fad of the 90’s, and more recently has embraced an enterprise wide search for “eco-friendly” products and services, termed “ecomagination”  which has spawned new business that turned over $US 5 Billion in 2010. They have now turned their attention to the innovation process, publicly embracing an open model across their business units, and have just published a credible survey they have termed the “Innovation Barometer” , which sets out to interpret the views of 1000 very senior executives across 12 countries about the way they see the innovation process evolving. There are some standout conclusions.

  1. Successful innovation will come from a whole of society benefit, not just a bottom line benefit for the innovator.
  2. The role of SME’s will increase substantially
  3. So called “green” innovation will play a pivotal role
  4. Collaboration across enterprise, geographic, scientific and cultural barriers will become pre-eminent.
  5. Our Prime Minister prattled on last week picking up some of these themes, but failed in my view to provide what every innovation thinker knows is fundamental to success, an objective, (perhaps a BHAG) best exampled by JFK’s 1961 national BHAG  of reaching the moon by 1969, providing a driving vision of the end point.