Bureaucracy biggest barrier to innovation

More than three quarters of business executives think bureaucracy within organisations is the biggest barrier to innovation, finds research.

According to a survey by London Business School of 650 business executives, 77 per cent say that improving incentives, reducing red tape and promoting greater flexibility in the business environment is key to stimulating entrepreneurship.

Speaking at their ninth annual Global Leadership Summit, London Business School Dean Andrew Likerman said, ‘Entrepreneurship and innovation are the key drivers of growth for both business and the economy in normal times. They are crucial right now in creating jobs to help economies emerge from the financial crisis.’

According to the poll, relying on employee promotions or other incentives is not enough to spur new ideas. When asked how you reward or incentivise innovative behaviour, two thirds (66 per cent) say it should be done by creating a culture of innovation, inviting individuals to contribute and share ideas.

Some 80 per cent of respondents believe CEOs are key to driving innovation within organisations, but mainly by providing top-level support rather than being the source.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) feel businesses can innovate if they empower teams to develop innovation outside existing organisational structures.

UK firms’ innovation drive

Business interest in launching innovation-led projects has soared in the past year, findings reveal.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme, which drives collaborative partnerships between businesses and education institutions, received 326 new applicants in the first part of this financial year compared with 177 in 2009/10.

The number of active KTP projects running for between one and three years reached 1,102 during 2009/10, the largest number ever achieved in 35 years of the KTP programme.

The partnerships support the recruitment of a high calibre graduate to undertake a specific task within a business, helping to transfer the required skills and expertise from an academic institution.

Head of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at the Technology Strategy Board, Dr Debbie Buckley-Golder, says: ‘This news is extremely encouraging and demonstrates a clear desire from businesses to innovate and grow in the post-recession era.’

Alan Dobie

Alan Dobie

Alan was assistant editor at Vitesse Media Plc (previous owner of smallbusiness.co.uk) before moving on to a content producer role at Reed Business Information. He has over 17 years of experience in the...

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