Research Report: Innovation Teams & Business Units: Allies or Adversaries?

Innovation Teams & Business Units: Allies or Adversaries?

Few relationships in a large company are as challenging as the one between an innovation team or a research and development group and the business units.

Business units are operators. They’re driven by concrete, near-term financial goals. The thrill of the big deal, the press release that moves the stock price. They excel at keeping supply chains and factories humming, and overseeing complex networks of salespeople, distributors, retailers.

Innovation teams are explorers. By definition, they’re responsible for looking further ahead, exploring terrain that hasn’t yet been mapped. They’re motivated by spotting something first — whether an emerging customer preference, a new business model, or a technological possibility.

Our Q1 2017 report dives into the ways that innovation and R&D groups can create productive working relationships. It includes survey data that covers who sets the budget and the agenda, as well as insights and advice from executives at Johnson & Johnson, Northrop Grumman, Reliant Energy, CVS Health, W.L. Gore, Clorox, and many others.

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