Closing the Innovation Achievement Gap

Recent research sheds light on what separates innovation leaders from laggards and the key shifts executives must make to move into the leader category.

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We’re living in an age of digital disruption, and many executives are in a quandary. They understand that their businesses must embrace innovation to remain competitive, yet many find that their own technology-led transformation projects are failing to deliver the expected value. As a result, many companies face an innovation achievement gap, which marks the difference between the potential value of technology investments and the actual value realized by companies.

At Accenture, we’ve conducted research to examine this gap, and our latest Future Systems study highlights the scale of this challenge for organizations. The results shed light on what separates the companies that are innovation leaders from the innovation laggards and the key shifts that executives must make to move their businesses into the leader category.

Technology Leaders Outpace Laggards in Revenue Growth

When we compared businesses’ levels of technology adoption, technology penetration, and organizational change, we categorized the top 10% as leaders. They’re enjoying levels of revenue growth that are double those of laggard businesses — those that occupy the bottom 25% in terms of adoption, penetration, and organizational change. Unless these laggard organizations change tack, they could end up losing around 46% of their potential annual revenue by 2023.

What makes a company an innovation leader? To a great extent, it’s a matter of mindset. These enterprises think in terms of systems rather than stand-alone technologies. Each of them is actively creating its strategic path to becoming a future system, a term we use to describe a coming technology paradigm that will be defined by three key characteristics:

  1. They are boundaryless. Future systems are based in the cloud and able to take advantage of the blurring of boundaries between the digital world (data, infrastructure, and applications) and the physical world (humans and machines), and even between competing organizations.
  2. They are adaptable. Future systems use automation and AI technologies to learn, improve, and scale by themselves, thus eliminating the friction that hinders business growth and helping workers make better decisions, faster.
  3. They are radically human. Future systems will interact seamlessly with people on human terms using AI and natural interfaces. By bringing elegant simplicity to every human-machine interaction, they will create a new competitive frontier for customer experience and make workers more efficient and effective.

Thinking Like the Top 10%

Across the board, leaders are outpacing laggards in the adoption of foundational technologies.


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