Summary of Overcoming the Innovation Readiness Gap

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Overcoming the Innovation Readiness Gap summary

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For companies around the world and in practically all industries, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgency of innovation. To help leaders derive business value from their investments in innovation, a team of experts from Boston Consulting Group delves into the “readiness gap”: the lack of capabilities and processes that would enable organizations to gain benefit from innovation. This insight-rich, data-informed white paper draws on survey responses gathered for BCG’s Most Innovative Companies 2021 report. The paper’s 17 authors include 13 BCG managing directors and partners.

About the Author

Konstantinos Apostolatos, Ramón Baeza, Michael Ringel, Michael Brigl and Deborah Lovich are managing directors and senior partners at Boston Consulting Group. Justin Manly, Matthias Kruehler, Rahool Panandiker, David Allred, Sandra Deutschländer, Charles Gildehaus, Christopher Stutzman and Lauren Taylor are managing directors and partners. Wendi Backler is a partner and director, innovation analytics and IP. Norihiko Sano is an associate director. Johann Harnoss is an associate director, innovation. Matthias Schmidt is global topic senior manager.


For innovation to create value, companies need more than commitment and investment – they also need readiness.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies have boosted innovation to a top-three priority. They’re signaling commitment by investing more. Nearly 50% of companies now qualify as committed investors – organizations that are both prioritizing and significantly investing in innovation.

But only 20% have achieved readiness, the processes and capabilities necessary to turn their aspirations into business impact. This readiness gap usually reflects deficiencies in innovation practices – the ways companies move projects toward impact – and in innovation platforms, which structure and shape innovation.

Readiness gaps typically stem from deficits in five factors.

Five capabilities account for much of the difference between readiness leaders and companies that lag: clarity as to goals, targets and...

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