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Insights from innovation leaders: GIF 2019

For the last few years, KD has been closely involved with the Global Innovation Forum event, which is annually held in London. The event brings together leading thinkers and businesses from around the world for a series of talks, debates, workshops and demo labs focused on latest trends in innovation, design, creativity and entrepreneurship.

At last year’s event, the KD team framed a debate by posing “6 Big Questions for Innovation Today”. This included questions on technology, the start-up scene, sustainability, changing demographics and the role of innovation within business. We used an interactive online tool (developed by the KD software team) to gain responses from the conference group which, although not a scientifically controlled study, provided a unique, real-time snapshot of innovation today, from a group of around 200 of the world’s leading innovation practitioners and directors.

Amongst the key insights gathered, a few stood out:

  •  A total of 64% agreed that sustainability is a driver for innovation with 36% stating that sustainability went hand-in-hand with innovation in their business.
  • A whopping 84% believed that their products and services will need to change “dramatically” or “significantly” to address the Millennials and Gen Z
  • A clear majority of 51% felt that amongst global trends, technology, in the form of AI, digital tools and the connected internet of things, would have the biggest impact on innovation in their businesses over the next 5 – 10 years
  • Amongst a range of responses relating to how innovation is used within business, including fuelling the pipeline of new ideas and providing a structure for progressing ideas through the business, 33% cited promoting a creative culture within their organisation as being its key role This chimes well with World Economic Forum’s prediction that by 2022, creativity will rank as the 3rd most important skill required in the workplace, rising from 10th place in 2015. Similarly, a LinkedIn survey revealed creativity to be the number one soft skill companies need in 2019.
  • In response to our question about user-centred innovation, we found that, although the majority of businesses represented were engaging with end users to a “significant extent” and 22% stated that “everything we do is driven by and tested with end users”, 41% were testing their products with users to a limited degree only. Astonishingly, in McKinsey’s Business Value of Design report from October 2018, which evaluated the use of design within 300 publicly listed companies, over 40 percent of the companies surveyed were found to be not talking to their end users during development. Clearly, the GIF audience represents an enlightened group when it comes to the management of creativity!
Collage of images of Merle Hall and Craig Wightman at Global Innovation Forum 2019

84% of innovation leaders believe that their products and services will need to change dramatically or significantly to address millennials and Gen Z audiences

Reflecting on the questions and themes of the debate from last year, and on how things have developed during 2019, it’s clear that these themes are still relevant as we head towards 2020. At KD, our work with clients in 2019 has included a growing and significant focus on sustainability, connected technology, changing demographics, the understanding of new user behaviours, and the application, education and learning power of creativity. The ability to synthesise these wide-ranging influences has never been more important to delivering user-centred innovation and successful new products and experiences.

On top of the big questions we asked last year, we’re delighted that the theme of this year’s GIF is around aligning creativity with purpose – a theme that’s close to our hearts and one that’s reflective of the interests of many of our clients today. We’ll be hosting a panel discussion on “Designing a Better World” where we’ll be joined by leaders from diverse fields including healthcare, banking and charity. We look forward to exploring issues of diversity, inclusivity, empathy and human-centeredness, and to defining how doing good and having a positive impact also equals good business.

Craig’s article, Insights from Innovation Leaders, was originally featured on LinkedIn here.

Get in touch

Contact our CDO, Craig Wightman.