RESEARCH2017-12-21T09:56:32+00:00

What Does the Innovation Research Tell Us?

Innovation research tells us that strong cultures of innovation lead to the creation of sustainable competitive advantage and higher financial performance.

Furthermore, innovation can be measured and managed. Yet most leaders do not believe this. Instead, believing that innovation and innovative culture is soft and squishy.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The key to innovation in organizations, according to research, resides in the ability to define, instill, and reinforce an innovation vision, culture, and capability among your employees and your external ecosystem.

Innovation will only flourish in dynamic, collaborative cultures lead by leaders who articulate a strategic vision for innovation, and invest in it. The investment includes putting in place the training, systems and processes for ideation and knowledge management, and organizational processes to successfully commercialize the best ideas.

Through almost 20 years of research and the publication of 13 peer-reviewed academic articles on innovation, InnovationOne founder, C. Brooke Dobni, PhD., has developed the InnovationOne Health Index (IHI), the most robust, quantitative diagnostic tool to assess, measure and benchmark organizational innovative culture and capability across the four organizational dimensions and 12 drivers of innovation. IHI has been benchmarked with over 2,000 organizations and is referenced to as one of the most comprehensive and reliable measures of innovation culture in organizations.

In 2013, we published Innovation Nation? Innovation Health Inside the Fortune 1000, which was the largest study of innovation in the Fortune 1000 companies. It offered several new insights on a scientifically rigorous survey of 1,127 executives and senior managers, including:

  • Impediments to achieving higher levels of innovation lie within organizational design and execution frameworks, including the lack of an explicit innovation strategy, and not a lack of creativity or empowerment at the employee level.

  • How respondents rate their companies’ overall business performance relative to their competition is strongly correlated with innovation performance.

Through our research and consulting, we have also uncovered the six traits of highly innovative companies. Companies, that rush to improve their innovation, often depending on a “silver bullet” solution or the investment in a new digital technology, fail because the make the mistake of not adhering to these six traits.

In addition to Innovation Nation?, Dr. Dobni has published numerous leading-edge articles and research papers on strategy and innovation in professional journals such as: The Strategic Management Journal; Journal of Business Strategy; European Journal of Innovation Management; Journal of Marketing Management; Marketing Intelligence and Planning; International Journal of Innovation Management; International Journal and Learning; International Journal of Business Science, among others.

In 2017, The Conference Board and InnovationOne partnered to launch the “Insights from Highly Innovative Companies: Results from The Conference Board and InnovationOne Global State of Innovation Survey 2017.”  Our purpose was to uncover the methodologies, technologies, and practices successful innovators are currently using to innovate–and which ones provide the most advantage in today’s business climate.

The five insights form highly innovative companies are as follows. They:

  1. think of innovation as a strategic imperative for the whole enterprise–not just belonging in the R&D department.

  2. report more use of all available innovative methodologies and technologies than lagging innovators.

  3. have developed transparent and collaborative cultures of innovation–and this one of the biggest factors distinguishing them from low innovators by a margin of nearly 2 to 1.

  4. use metrics to measure innovation.

  5. report the most advantage from understanding the customer experience and developing as strong culture of innovation.

Dr. Dobni holds a Ph.D. in Strategy from the University of Bradford, Bradford-Leeds, UK, and an MBA and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. He can be reached at [email protected].

Below you may receive a copy of our landmark study,

Innovation Nation? Innovation Health Inside the Fortune 1000 

and “Insights from Highly Innovative Companies: Results from The Conference Board and InnovationOne Global State of Innovation Survey 2017.” 

by signing up for our Newsletter below.

You will also find 21 abstracts of Dr. Dobni’s publications in academic and professional journals, which can be ordered by the publication or through an online service, such as ReadCube.

Sign up for our InnovationOne Newsletter to receive your free copy of our valuable two reports Innovation Nation? and Insights from Highly Innovative Companies: Results from The Conference Board and InnovationOne Global State of Innovation Survey 2017. Fill out the form below, hit SUBMIT, and look for the subscription confirmation email message in your inbox. Then click “Yes” and you will be redirected to the download link for the two reports.

Peer Reviewed and Published Articles on Innovation

The most innovative companies in the world are also the most successful. InnovationOne’s Innovation Health Index is the most comprehensive assessment available to measure, benchmark and help build a sustainable culture of innovation in an organization.

Following are abstracts from our innovation research, including the science of innovation and practical strategies to increase innovation in organizations. Please click on any abstract to learn more.

This is article is currently under review for peer-reviewed publication

The U.S. is the world’s largest economy, but is it a leading innovation nation?  As economies mature and slow in growth, innovation will prove to be a key driver in maintaining transient advantage.  This article presents a pulse on innovation in the U.S. as F1000 C-suite executives weigh in on their organization’s innovation health.  It also compares the U.S. score with proxy benchmark measures in other countries, and provides operational and strategic considerations to advance innovation platforms in U.S. organizations.  Managers will gain insight into common hurdles faced by some of America’s most prominent companies, as well as how to improve innovation practices in their own organization.

This report, using the F1000 methodology and InnovationOne involves top line results of the largest study on innovation done in Saskatchewan.  This study, undertaken by Strategian uses the InnovationOne metric to assess the innovation health of the Saskatchewan economy, and its ability to create new value< nearly 400 business leaders responded to this survey, effectively developing and outlining a benchmark on the state of innovation in Saskatchewan, and concluded with recommendations to move the innovation orientation of Saskatchewan organization forward.

This is a reprint of the 2008 article published in the Journal of Business Strategy at the request of McGraw-Hill.

Innovation is the focus of many boardroom discussions today as executives realize that it is the key to developing a sustainable competitive advantage.  Knowing this, innovation is what organizations seek, but getting there has proven to be very challenging for most.  This article starts out by discussing the relationship between strategy, culture, and innovation, and then introduces innovation DNA that promotes innovative traits in employees.  The four DNA properties which include knowledge management, cluster enactment, venture experimentation, and co-alignment are banded together by employee constituency and psychological empowerment.  Together, these traits establish the foundation for the development and sustainment of an innovation orientation in organizations, effectively elevating strategy to the next level.

Citation: Dobni, C.B., (2011).  “The DNA of innovation.” Crafting and Executing Strategy, McGraw-Hill, (forthcoming February 2011)

In recent years, academic and practitioner interest has focused on developing entrepreneurial and innovative cultures as a method of competitive differentiation.  However, much less attention has been devoted to understanding the factors that support an entrepreneurial and innovation orientation (EIO) in organizations.  This article describes a procedure which explicates the EIO construct, and proposes a valid multi-item measure of EIO.  The findings suggest that an EIO may best be represented through a structure that consists of five factors identified as empowerment, market orientation, strategic infrastructure, context-focused learning, and creativity.

citation: Dobni, C.B., (2011). “Organizational Factors that promote entrepreneurship and innovation: an exploratory model.”International Journal of Innovation and Learning (in press).

This article discusses the concept of innovation in general and work around measuring innovation in organizations.  This is followed by an exploratory study which delineates the relationship between innovation, strategy, and organizational performance using a cross sectional sample of Canadian organizations.  In this process, proposed relationships are discussed, as are the procedures used to test propositions.  It concludes with results and managerial implications.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., (2010). “The relationship between an innovation orientation and organizational performance.”  In-press,International Journal of Innovation and Learning

The strategy chosen in organizations is related to several factors including the organization’s mission, objectives, resources, and its innovation orientation.  Using a sample of Canadian organizations, this study examines the relationships between an organization’s innovation orientation and the types of competitive strategies they pursue.

An innovation orientation describes how innovative an organization is and the results suggest that such an orientation provides a context for the implementation of proactive growth-based strategies.  Organizations that possess high innovation orientations engage in value creation strategies such as market segmentation, developing new products/services for new markets, and product or service customization.  Those organizations possessing low innovation orientations generally practice less aggressive and internally focused strategies, de-emphasizing such things as customer service, brand reputation, and co-operation based strategies such as joint ventures and alliances.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., (2010). “The relationship between an innovation orientation and competitive strategy.” International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol 14, No 2 (April), 331 – 357

To experience an innovation gain, organizations are required to create differentiable value.  To do so requires a certain synergy between strategy and innovation.  This article outlines the importance of innovation, but more importantly discusses the relationship between strategy and innovation.  It argues that strategic innovation is logical, yet strategy and innovation are quite different, both in terms of definition and function.    These differences are identified, and approaches to achieving synergy are outlined.

citation: Dobni, C.B., (2009). “Achieving synergy between strategy and innovation; the key to value creation.”  International Journal of Business Science and Applied Management, Vol 5, Issue 1, 48-58

Innovation is the focus of many boardroom discussions today as executives realize that it is the key to developing a sustainable competitive advantage.  Knowing this, innovation is what organizations seek, but getting there has proven to be very challenging for most.  This article starts out by discussing the relationship between strategy, culture, and innovation, and then introduces innovation DNA that promotes innovative traits in employees.  The four DNA properties which include knowledge management, cluster enactment, venture experimentation, and co-alignment are banded together by employee constituency and psychological empowerment.  Together, these traits establish the foundation for the development and sustainment of an innovation orientation in organizations, effectively elevating strategy to the next level.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., (2008).  “The DNA of innovation.” Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 43-50

Measuring innovation culture in organizations: the development of a generalized innovation culture construct using exploratory factor analysis

In recent years, academic and practitioner interest has focused on innovation as a method of competitive differentiation and as a way to create customer value.  However, much less attention has been devoted to developing a valid measure of innovation in organizations.  This article describes a procedure which explicates the innovation orientation construct, and proposes a valid multi-item measure of innovation predicated on a factor analysis of innovation descriptors.  These descriptors were derived from a process that included literature reviews, key informant interviews, and a survey of over 500 employees from the financial services industry.  The findings suggest that an innovation index may best be represented through a structure that consists of 7 factors identified as innovation propensity, organizational constituency, organizational learning, creativity and empowerment, market orientation, value orientation, and implementation context.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., (2008). “Measuring innovation culture in organizations: the development and validation of a generalized innovation culture construct using exploratory factor analysis.” European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol 11, No. 4, 539-559

In boardrooms across North America, executives extol the advantages of being innovative.  Some believe that it is the next level of competitive advantage, the Holy Grail of business.  Yet, according to consulting firms Arthur D. Little Inc. and Gary Hamel’s Strategos, many organizations that try to become innovative rate themselves poorly at it.  Why is this the case, and how do we overcome the barriers?

This article sets out to answer these questions.  It introduces a blueprint that if followed, will direct organizations to the innovation zone.  Once organizations reach this zone, a level of synergy between strategy and innovation is achieved, effectively enhancing the organization’s ability to develop new wealth-creating opportunities, identify positive twists in strategic direction, and develop an ongoing capability to innovate.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., (2006). “The innovation blueprint” Business Horizons. Volume 49, No. 4, pp. 329-339

Innovation is the new business mantra, and recent studies have suggested that there is a strong positive relationship between innovation, market positioning strategy and performance.  Having an innovative organization can be an effective way in identifying and executing growth opportunities in the financial services industry.  Given the nature of the competitive landscape and the innovation disruption environment in the financial services industry, developing an orientation that will allow for emergent and ongoing innovation is the best way to provide a competitive advantage.

This article discusses the dynamics of innovation in the financial services industry and relationship between innovation and market related strategy.  It then introduces an innovation model that can be used as a platform by financial services organizations.  The model identifies three areas of consideration – context, culture, and execution – that will help organizations in this industry to develop and sustain ongoing innovation efforts.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., (2006). “Developing an innovation orientation in financial services organizations” Journal of Financial Services Marketing, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp. 166-179

Strategy implementation and performance in organizations are influenced by its market orientation.  Market orientation is the collective of employee behaviours that affect strategy implementation, how an organization interacts with its environment and adjusts to changes within that context.  This study identified ideal behavioural profiles for organizations seeking to maximize performance by considering the scope and impact of a market orientation on strategy implementation.  Important strategic and performance implications of this dynamic were also revealed.

citation:  Dobni C.B., and Luffman, G., (2003) “Determining the scope and impact of market orientation profiles on strategy implementation and performance” Strategic Management Journal, 24: 577-585

There are two main objectives of strategy – positioning to compete, and creating a climate to support implementation.  The current challenge for management lies in strategy implementation.  This article offers a six-point taxonomy for managers interested in creating an implementation context.  This taxonomy goes to the root of strategy implementation, that being the creation of an environment that harnesses individual activities into a collective whole for the purpose of creating value and enhancing performance.  After all, it is the employees that make things happen.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., (2003) “Creating a strategy implementation environment” Business Horizons, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 43-47

This article presents a model and provides considerations for implementing a service excellence initiative in the highly competitive financial services industry. This model identifies and defines service culture, desired employee service behaviors, operational standards and service outcomes necessary to enhance and sustain service excellence. When managed collectively, these components provide the organizational environment necessary to harness employee service-related activities for the purpose of creating value and enhancing performance. Implementation of this model resulted in a 20% increase in service quality scores across select areas in the sample organization over a two-year period.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., (2002) “A model for implementing service excellence in the financial services industry,” Journal of Financial Services Marketing, Vol. 7, Issue 1, pp. 42-54

The development and reinforcement of context-specific behaviours support the implementation of marketing strategy.  This article discusses the limitations of traditional strategy implementation pursuits, and then proceeds to report the results of two independent but related studies that consider methods of behaviour management – market orientation profiling, and behavioural repertoires – and their affect on marketing strategy and organizational performance.  This article concludes by providing perspective steps that managers can consider in efforts to adopt these approaches to strategy implementation.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., Dobni, D.M., and Luffman, G.A., (2001) “The behavioural approach to marketing strategy implementation” Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol.19 No.6, pp. 400-409

The adoption of specific marketing strategies is related to several factors including the organization’s mission, objectives, resources, and market orientation.  This study defines the relationship between marketing strategy and market orientation in a high technology environment – the telecommunications industry in the United States.  The results indicate that a market orientation provides a context for the implementation of specific marketing strategies by serving as a moderator of operational marketing strategy.  Specific examples of these relationships are provided.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., and Luffman, G.A., 2000 “Implementing marketing strategy through a market orientation,” Journal of Marketing Management, 16, pp. 895-916

Organization performance is greatly influenced by employee behaviours and the resulting market orientation that they possess.  Market orientation is a behavioural culture that affects strategy formulation and strategy implementation, and how an organization interacts with its environment and adjusts to changes in that context.  The relationship between market orientation and performance is robust across several environmental contexts that are characterized by varying degrees of market turbulence, competitive intensity, and products/services introduction rates.  This paper identified co-aligned market orientation and strategy profiles corresponding to unique competitive profiles that represent best practices for an organization.  This relationship becomes dynamic when one considers the assertion that organization culture is synonymous with strategy.  As a result, the ability to profile ideal orientations has significant strategic and performance implications for organizations.

citation:  Dobni, C.B., and Luffman, G.A., 2000.  “Market orientation and market strategy profiling: an empirical test of environment-behaviour-action coalignment and its performance implications,” Management Decision, 38, 8, pp. 503-519

This article outlines the ways and means by which financial services organizations can implement a value-added orientation as a strategic initiative.  It discusses the nature of the value-added financial service, the key issues that will arise and choices that must be made about customers, operations and technology, human resources management and organizational design to support it.  The transition to a value-added service provider is revealed as a vehicle for implementing the marketing concept across all functions and processes in the organization.

citation:  Dobni, D.M., and Dobni, C.B., 1998.  “A blueprint for creating the value-added financial service,” Journal of Financial Services Marketing, Vol. 3, Issue 1, pp. 11-20

This article, published in Canada’s top practitioner journal, Ivey Business Quarterly and written with Mr. Gerald Grandey, President and CEO of Cameco Corporation explores the importance and impact of developing long term business relationship in an environment where it is difficult to otherwise differentiate products and services.  The article present a taxonomy of stages and considerations in developing relationships that are enduring enough to become competitive advantages.

citation:  Grandey, G., Dobni, D.M., and Dobni, C.B., 1998. “Business relationships: handle with care” Ivey Business Quarterly, Winter, pp. 59-64.

This article uses Michael Porter’s “five forces model” to assess the state of competition in the Canadian university-bases business school industry.  The analysis indicated that Canada’s business schools are becoming increasingly vulnerable to competitive pressures and that their competitive fitness is dependent on an agenda of strategic re-orientation.  Specific susceptibilities and strategic options for dealing with them are discussed.

citation:  Dobni, D.M. and Dobni, C.B., 1996.  “Business schools:  going out of business?  issues, challenges and strategies for management education,” Journal of Education for Business, 72, 1, pp. 28-36

This article was published in Canada’s top practitioner journal, Ivey Business Quarterly, and considers the stages to move from a public utility to a private entity.  It is essentially a case study of Saskatoon’s John G. Diefenbaker International Airport’s move from a federal government entity to a private corporation.

citation:  Dobni, D.M., Dobni, C.B., and Painter, M., 1996. “Navigating the route to privatization.  Ivey Business Quarterly, 60, 3, Spring, pp. 46–56.