It almost goes without saying that every business wants to achieve growth and innovation. But sometimes it’s easier said than done, isn’t it? And so what are the key attributes an innovative and developing business needs to have? Well the latest research led by Dr George Day of the University of Pennsylvania – a leading world expert on marketing, strategy and innovation – has revealed just what sets apart successful, innovative businesses from the rest. Read on to find out more.

  1. Investing in talent

Those companies that are leading the way in terms of growth and innovation make investing in talent a top priority. They don’t just pay lip service to attracting and keeping the best people, they invest heavily in talent and transformative initiatives and projects. And that commitment comes right from the very top of the organisation.

What’s more, continued success has a habit of fostering further success. The reason why Apple and Samsung have stayed at the top for so long is that their continued success makes them more attractive to the top people. Everyone wants to be part of a winning formula after all and so it’s much easier for these top-performing companies to attract and retain the best talent in the market.

  1. Be outward looking

According to Dr Day, leading growth and innovation companies invest time and resources in looking to the outside for ideas. This involves an organisational acceptance that you don’t have all the answers and that there’s much to be learned from external customers, clients, competitors and stakeholders. Day is firmly of the opinion that ‘strategic inertia’ as he calls it, is a major barrier to innovation. And so the top-performing businesses invest heavily in customer experience maps, lead-user analysis as well as the systematic use of idea generation and selection methods.

  1. Take risks

It’s impossible to get ahead without taking some calculated risks. The research suggests that many companies are following the lead of start-ups and venture capitalists by encouraging risk-taking in their businesses. Initiatives have included rapid prototyping and implementing lean start-up methodologies. Other companies such as General Electric in the US have encouraged employees to come up with innovations and the best ideas are funded to test and develop them as projects. As well as being a catalyst for encouraging innovation generally, it’s also been a great mechanism for developing talent and enhancing employee engagement across the board.

Growth and innovation are things that don’t just happen in an organisation – they have to be nurtured, encouraged and sustained. Take a lead from the top-performing businesses and use these ideas to develop innovation and business growth in your company.