What’s Your Top Innovation Issue for 2019?

January 25, 2019

In a recent Q&A email, we asked the InnoLead community the following question:

“What’s the top innovation issue you’re going to tackle in 2019?”

Below are a few of the best responses — but we invite you to post your answer in the comments below. We also discussed this question with attendees at our recent “Setting the Agenda” breakfast at InnoLead HQ in Boston. Among the answers were:

  • Ensuring that successful projects “cross the chasm” from the innovation or R&D lab to a business unit;
  • Managing your CEO and CFO: What would be considered personal wins for them, and how can you help them achieve those wins?
  • How innovation priorities change during economic downturns, tilting your portfolio to focus on Horizon 1 innovations, and focusing on near-term revenue generation;
  • How do we develop the profession of innovation?
  • The plusses and minuses of creating physical spaces for innovation and collaboration activity.

Have a question that you’d like to ask our community? Send it to, or see if it’s already been answered on our FAQ Page.

Advice from Respondents

Respondent in Computer Hardware
“Dealing with the bureaucracy of the broader organization.”

Respondent in Consulting
“I work primarily in the auto and advanced mobility sectors. In the past six months, there has been a clear re-balancing of priorities amongst the incumbent OEMs and suppliers towards technologies and innovations that will have an impact on operating metrics in the near to intermediate term. This aligns with announcements from many large companies regarding downsizing, restructuring, rising input costs, and anticipation of an economic downturn.”

Respondent in Food & Beverages
“Besides the usual work on multiple initiatives, our main structural focus for 2019 will be on company culture. We will further grow the innovation capabilities throughout the enterprise by broadening and strengthening our Network of Innovation Champions.”

Respondent in Public Relations
“We’re focused on creating killer communication strategies around the innovation for our clients. Just having great new products, services or processes is not enough if you can’t effectively communicate their benefit and navigate through the fear and change.”

Respondent in Financial Services

  • Concrete projects
  • Re-use of innovations
  • Scaling of projects globally
  • Measurement of innovation
  • Innovation portfolio management

Respondent in Utilities
“My main innovation challenge for 2019 is to transform the company I am working in into an innovative one: Implementing a culture of innovation to unlock people’s creativity, [and] setting up a coherent framework (tools, processes) to foster innovation.”

Respondent in Accounting
“Obtain funding for a structuring of our local corporate innovation management process.”

Langdon Morris — InnovationLabs
“We are expecting a very turbulent year in 2019, so the focus for us and many of our clients is on surviving and thriving amid the chaos. Innovation has a key role to play in helping organizations adapt to change, but it can be difficult to keep focused and stay the course when everyone around you seems to be losing their heads. This is where disciplined approaches to innovation become critical – they focus the attention of innovators and innovation leaders on the factors that matter, and help to tune out abundant noise. It also takes strong leadership to get through this sort of difficulty, and as it appears that the US is headed into a political crisis, your leadership skills will surely be tested.

Another major theme for the year is the continuing tsunami of new technologies – robotics, VR/AR, surveillance, drones, quantum computing, blockchain, etc. – it’s all coming faster and faster, and with it comes new threats but also outstanding opportunities.”