Agencies and marketers are implementing innovation labs and product incubators in an effort to stay ahead of the pack—and maintain relationships with their clients, which are asking for them. According to Econsultancy polling for SoDA, the number of agencies and client-side marketing firms with innovation labs and product incubators jumped more than 28% year over year in 2014 to 50%, from 39% in 2013.
The survey found that innovation labs not only helped bring money in—they also assisted in preventing employees from walking out. Among agency professionals and client-side marketers worldwide whose firms had an innovation lab or product incubator, 52% said these efforts directly contributed to new business, and nearly the same percentage cited talent retention—and a happier, more engaged staff—as a value of innovation labs.
Executives, too, appear to have noticed the importance of innovation in driving business success. A December 2013 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 86% of CEOs worldwide had at least recognized the need to change their research/development and innovation capacity in order to capitalize on transformative global trends; 27% of respondents were either in the process of or had already completed changing their research/development and innovation capacity program, 24% had concrete plans to implement change, and 22% were working on a strategy to do so.
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