Lack of time is the single biggest barrier to innovation

Teams working at full capacity lack the time and miss the opportunity to try new, different and better ways of innovation in their business.

Innovation – or doing things differently to achieve your mission – is a critical tool in delivering efficiencies and helping organisations stay ahead of their competition.

Yet, while 76 per cent of employees agree that innovation is important to their organisational strategy, less than half (40 per cent) of those felt their organisation was doing it well.

The biggest blocker is lack of time – some 82 per cent of people felt the primary reason why their organisation does not innovate is because people are too busy reacting to day-to-day challenges.

The findings are from a recent survey of more than 300 people who work across the private and charity sectors. The survey was conducted by Lucidity, a consultancy that provides simple and practical ways to help individuals and organisations think clearly and get better results.

Other key findings are:

  • Only 38 per cent of respondents felt their organisation was really taking development seriously and doing it well. The rest were frustrated that innovation was discussed as being important yet no real steps were being taken to drive it.
  • Just over half of respondents are focusing on incrementally innovating (53 per cent) – the small changes that can add up to make a big impact.
  • A third of responders are focusing their efforts on new product development (30 per cent).
  • Thirteen per cent are focused on radically innovating to a point that will change their business model entirely.
  • Almost a quarter (22 per cent) had no approach or strategy for innovation at all.

Size does matter

The survey also finds that organisational size impacts on attitudes towards innovating.

As organisations get larger (£1 million+ turnover, 500+ employees), perceived importance and quality of innovation reduces – despite employees being set more personal objectives around innovation. Larger organisations are also more likely to blame lack of leadership, bureaucracy or simply being too busy as the reasons for a lack of innovation.

Smaller companies (<£500,000) value innovation more but are more likely to blame lack of skills and resources for failure to innovate.

Lucy Gower, director of Lucidity says, ‘Societally, organisationally and as individuals, we are not achieving the pace or scale of change required to tackle the key issues we face. Innovation can help provide some of the answers we need, but to be successful, it needs to be done well. If they are to be the best they can be, organisations need to find ways to create time and budget for innovation.’

Further reading on innovation

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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