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To gain insight into emerging trends and outpace the competition, firms are putting innovation centers in place. According to July 2015 research by Altimeter Group and Capgemini, nearly four in 10 companies polled worldwide had an innovation center.
Mobility—anything related to mobile technologies and apps—was the most popular area of focus, cited by nearly two-thirds of companies with innovation centers. The majority of respondents also had innovation centers that focused on big data and analytics, and nearly four in 10 had internet of things-related centers. Robotics, virtual reality and 3-D printing were far less common.
Respondents didn’t typically hold back once they started using innovation centers: 67% had a network of these, vs. 33% who had a single innovation center. The study suggested taking the route of the former group, as a network allows companies to “harness synergies across sectors, markets and capabilities.”
Companies with innovation centers were particularly focused on getting on top of up-and-coming technology trends. When the study asked about the main mission of innovation centers, 65% of respondents cited gaining exposure to the latest technologies, vs. 35% who were striving for a deeper understanding of customers’ needs.
Other research emphasizes consumer demand for innovation. Nearly two-thirds of US corporate executives polled by Lithium in May 2015 cited increased pressure to innovate as a way in which rising customer expectations had affected their firms. And companies are responding. In May 2015 polling by KPMG, 27% of CEOs worldwide cited fostering innovation as a strategic priority for the next three years, and a quarter ranked it as one of the most critical challenges they expected to face during the same timeframe.
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