RSM International commissioned a study of companies across Europe to investigate how and why they pursue innovation.

Undertaken by the European Business Awards, the report comprises responses from 791 companies in 33 countries, spanning multiple industries and sizes.

The final responses were gathered in February 2020, just before the world changed.

The data compiled was then used to explore the role that business innovation will play in the longer term, as well as how to harness it in the right way.

While we are now operating in a very different environment compared with the beginning of the year, the key characteristics of innovation success from this study give rich insight to businesses adjusting to the realities of the new world; where change is critical to survival.

Section 1

Innovation in European businesses

Innovation was once seen as an investment for the future and was constantly competing with pressures to allocate funds to deliver short term performance. Our data shows us that innovation drives business growth, gives companies a competitive edge, helps in attracting and retaining talented people, creates business agility and improves businesses processes.

Section 2

Secret ingredients for successful innovation

This section provides insight into the three key areas we see driving innovation success in businesses: use of technology, embracing an innovative culture and frequency of stakeholder engagement. Technology developments have been changing the business landscape irrevocably, creating both huge opportunity and huge disruption. Today the old models of competition are proving less relevant as traditional barriers to entry are obliterated by technology.

Section 3

A sector analysis

Innovation naturally lends itself to some sectors more easily than others and results must be seen in this context, however we believe every sector can learn from the success of all businesses, especially today. Read our sector review here.

Section 4

What needs to change?

The data from our survey identifies the core issues and solutions for employers prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and offers insight into how and why that might change moving forward, as businesses adapt to the new normal.

Section 5

The innovation journey

 This new world will present challenges but will also be full of opportunity. The business community has been presented with a blank slate - now is a once in a lifetime moment to reinvent, innovate and find a new space in the market. Organisations that have most successfully embedded innovation and adopted new technologies to drive change will play a strong role in this new world - and companies of all sizes and sectors can learn from their success.