The theory that the UK is better at inventing things than bringing them to market has been confirmed in a report on innovation by German consultancy Agamus.
Eight out of 100 UK employees are involved in product innovation projects – the second highest level after Denmark. But UK firms come up with an average of just nine innovative projects per 100 employees per year, compared with 30.5 in the US.
The result is that the UK lags Canada, Switzerland, Germany, the US and Japan on overall innovative success, which takes into account factors such as increased sales.
There is little the Government can do to make firms more innovative, according to Agamus. The report found that innovative success was governed by corporate culture rather than external influences.
It said UK firms fell down by tending to keep their innovative employees in research and development. Successful firms used fewer innovators over more departments and were better at balancing idea generation and assessment of success.
According to Agamus’s Manuela Dormer, successful companies also have a `culture of innovation’.
`A window manufacturer could say “our purpose is to make windows”. But if they say “our purpose is to close holes in buildings”, it increases the potential market significantly.’