Lessons learnt on 164 real innovation management challenges

To see more clearly what has worked better – or hasn’t worked – with our own clients in recent, real innovation management initiatives, we’ve selected 10 with different size dimensions, from different countries and continents and a variety of sectors, including utilities, banking, health care, energy producers and telecom operators. In total, our clients have presented their communities with 164 challenges, all of which we’ve studied in detail, focusing particularly on the engagement levels and results achieved.

What works best
We’ve started by identifying the macro themes most commonly chosen by management and then looked for those that have generated more ideas and interactions. The table below shows what we found has happened.


ultimate innovation challenge

Challenges that are more tangible, related to themes such as ‘operational efficiency’, ‘cost savings’ or ‘product and service enhancements’, appear to have captured people’s attention and participation more easily. Although not usually among management’s top five choices, ‘quality-focused ideas’ is also a quite attractive theme.

Understandably, these findings mean that people more easily relate to – and want to have a say in – questions that are closely tied to, and disrupt, daily work routines. These are, for instance, ‘How can we develop new products and services at cash desks?’, ‘How can we capture younger audiences?’ and ‘How can we increase safety during installation processes?’

Here’s one client insight on the topic:

‘The themes that work best are those to which the employees can relate to, reflecting their life experiences and involving solutions from which they themselves benefit from or other issues where it’s easier to have an opinion without needing deeper expertise. This includes, in our context, themes such as family, children, services at home, corporate and social responsibility, new offers and solutions and communication campaigns – our teams love this one. But this excludes issues such as more specific business services – since the business world appears a bit far away, which may not be the case in a company where customers are exclusively from this sphere – and overly technological subjects.’

But how does it relate to challenges’ specific results? We’ll see that next.

Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO/ dnc@exago.com
Francisco Bernardes, Exago’s head of Innovation Services/ fmb@exago.com

Which innovation challenges are more easily implemented?

Your ultimate innovation challenge – what works and what doesn’t

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