Surveys of innovators (No. 2: business innovators)

A recent survey of people who downloaded the online book Permanent Innovation underscores the point I made in a previous post  — whether you’re an experimental innovator or a conceptual innovator, you’ll have to rub elbows with many of your opposites.

The survey paints a picture of companies that mix conceptual and experimental approaches to innovation.

On the conceptual side, the average description of the “current mix in your organization’s innovation portfolio” was:

  • New ventures, 16 percent.
  • New business models, 17 percent.
  • Breakthrough products and technologies, 21 percent.

On the more experimental side, the average was:

  • Incremental innovation, 53 percent.

(The respondents were a bit math-challenged. In the “current mix” question, they were asked to allocate 100 percentage points among those four categories. Somehow, the total averaged 107.)

The “Innovation Tools” blog took heart in the 17 percent figure for new business models: “I think this last figure is encouraging, because this is a big area for potential growth. It’s certainly a bit higher than I thought it would be, given the historical focus of most organizations on product innovation.”


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