The Innovation Game Has Changed, BCG’s Andrew Says

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by: Yann Gourvennec

In a Chicago Business article BCG’s head of global innovation practice James Andrew is putting his trotters in the trough: Innovation is no longer an option, he tells journalist Samantha Stainburn.

Before the world got so flat, cost differentiation was enough to position an average big company but this is no longer true. The [innovation]”Game has changed” he tells the journalist. Cost cutting is not enough. I cannot agree more with James Andrew, only I wish more clients did too. More often than not, we see clients who think that innovation is really that strategic but when it comes to being serious about it, the innovation chapter subsides to lower grounds. This is obviously a contradiction which has to be dealt with seriously. Managers want innovation badly but few are prepared to spend enough time, effort and funding to support the strategy. It cannot work like that obviously. Yet I think we should not give up. Things are changing fast. I can feel it coming in the outsourcing business. Innovation is slowly but surely becoming mainstream. Clients are more mature than ever nowadays, and they are aware too that narrowing an outsource deal down to a mere cost-cutting exercise is not going to do any good to the long term viability of their business. This is why more and more outsourcing clients demand – beyond straightforward technology refresh clauses – that a joint innovation programme be included in the deal in order to help ‘manage’ innovation to put it in the words of Andrew. I know we are not there yet, but there is hope and it is improving fast. Barely a year ago, the situation was far less favourable. Innovators cheer up! The future looks bright.

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