WEDNESDAY 4 DEC 2019 12:09 PM


Most big UK businesses struggling to innovate, despite it being a priority for many, due to risk-averse culture, red tape and time constraints as key barriers.

London digital agency Studio Graphene commissioned an independent survey of more than 750 senior decision-makers and found that 71% of organisations have budgets and resources dedicated to innovation, rising to 86% among large businesses (those with more than 250 employees).

Half (50%) consider their rivals to be more innovative than they are; this figure jumps to 71% among large businesses.

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

The research showed that 45% of decision makers – 70% of those in large businesses – believe their organisation is too risk-averse to embrace new innovative technologies. The respondents also cited time constraints as a significant issue; 51% feel they are too busy to think about innovation, with the number rising to 71% in large companies.

More than three-fifths (62%) complain there are too many steps involved in getting management to give the green light to new ideas. This rises to 87% in large businesses.

Elsewhere, the study revealed that 37% of organisations have tried and failed to implement a new technology in the past year – this was more common in the public sector than the private sector (45% versus 35%). Half (50%) say Brexit has hampered innovation in their organisation – this view is more common in large businesses (68%) and in the public sector (58% versus 48%).

Studio Graphene founder and director Ritam Gandhi said: “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. 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.”