A culture of innovation fuels business resilience and economic recovery

Fig. 1: Culture of Innovation Framework
“We first commissioned this research to gain a better understanding of the relationship between an organization’s culture of innovation and its ability to grow. We now see clearly that maturity in a culture of innovation also plays a key role in shoring it up against risks and economic headwinds and setting the path for recovery”, explained Ahmed Mazhari.
Assessing organizational maturity for culture of innovation
The culture of innovation maturity framework captures organizations’ approach to innovation. Through the research, organizations’ performance was mapped against four dimensions (people, processes, data, and technology), with organizations grouped in four stages – traditionalist (stage 1), novice (stage 2), adaptor (stage 3), and leaders (stage 4). Leaders comprise organizations that are the most mature in building a culture of innovation[1].
The study found that in the span of six months, organizations in Asia Pacific have matured in the culture of innovation by 11%, an indication that they have increased their ability to innovate.


Fig 2: Culture of Innovation Maturity (%)
As stated above, organizations were forced to adapt to new conditions with agility when the crisis hit and recognized that innovating is easier than they had thought. Since COVID-19, the study found a drop in leaders (68% to 36%) and other organizations (74% to 54%) that find innovation to be hard.
The faster pace of digitization is also key to building stronger organizations. The study found that 87% of leaders will speed up digitization by launching initiatives including digital products, payments, and e-commerce, as compared to 67% of other organizations, in response to the new reality.
Leaders are also further along in rethinking business models, as it was the top strategy they implemented to remain resilient and to better respond to the new market conditions while their other counterparts were only just planning to do it in the near future. Moving forward, leaders say they will focus on investing in technology infrastructure that is robust and allows scalability and flexibility, as well as upskilling and reskilling of their workforce to ensure business resilience and performance for the future.
“We see amongst leaders a constant appetite for growth and evolution. During COVID-19, 45% of them said they think their business model will lose its competitiveness in five years’ time, as compared to 30% of other organizations. This desire and urgency for continuous improvement through agility and adaptation to change will determine the success of businesses in this new normal,” said Sandra Ng, Group Vice President, Practice Group, IDC Asia/Pacific
Focus on people and technology
Of the culture of innovation dimensions, people and technology were revealed to be the two foremost priorities for organizations in the next 12 months.


Fig 3: People and technology as the two focus areas for organizations in Asia Pacific (%)
“The current crisis has shown us how much business continuity and our future relevance depend on people being digitally ready,” said Mazhari.
“We describe it through tech intensity. Now, with every organization becoming a digital one, achieving success in transformation requires both the adoption of tools and technologies as well as own digital capabilities. A culture that encourages innovation and embraces digital opportunities is critical to prepare the workforce and organizations for current and future challenges,” he continued.
Culture of Innovation – formula for business resilience and faster economic recovery
Using the culture of innovation framework, the study revealed the best practices that organizations can adopt to progress across people, process, data, and technology.
Specifically, organizations are encouraged to:
Fortify resilience with technology
Invest in people’s capabilities and skills
Leverage data to increase competitiveness
Redesign processes to empower people to continuously drive innovation
“People are the lifeblood of innovative organizations. Business leaders are reco…
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