Innovation Challenge

Innovation Strategy and Delivery

What separates the best from the rest? A world-class innovation system that is strategy-led, internally consistent, and adaptable enough to drive serial success through an ongoing innovation journey.

Innovation is essential. Nearly 75% of companies say innovation is one of their top three management priorities, and 35% rank it above all others. That’s not surprising. After all, a winning innovation strategy—paired with the right innovation system—can make a big difference. Since 2005, the businesses in BCG’s annual ranking of the world’s 50 most innovative companies have delivered a total shareholder return two percentage points higher than that of the global market.

But innovation is hard. Only about 30% of companies think they are good at it. And it’s only getting more challenging. Digital and data are requiring even the strongest innovators to continually master new capabilities and develop faster and more agile research and development processes.

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Related Innovation Services


Business Model Innovation

How can business model innovation drive organizational growth, reinvigorate a lagging core, or defend against disruption? Learn about business model innovation consulting.

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Corporate Venturing

BCG’s expert consultants help companies develop unique corporate venturing strategies that foster growth, transformation, and competitive advantage.

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Product Innovation and Engineering

BCG’s product innovation consulting team helps companies engineer market-winning products and services, improve product excellence, and transform R&D.

The BCG Innovation Journey

Avoiding these pitfalls calls for an approach that is strategy-led, biased toward action, and agile. These characteristics are true whether you’re talking about innovation in consumer products or in a business-to-business domain—or innovating at the level of the product, service, or business model. And they’re at the heart of BCG’s approach to innovation consulting. BCG’s innovation journey is a holistic approach in which we collaborate closely with the client to strengthen its innovation system and make innovation happen. The approach has four central elements.

Innovation Strategy

We begin by looking both outside and inside to define an innovation strategy that best supports the overall business strategy. Outside to understand key trends shaping customer economics and demand and to prioritize the most attractive domains for innovation investment. And inside to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the client’s innovation system. The strategy enables the innovation system to gain traction by pinpointing the most important areas for investment.

Supporting expertise and offerings:

Innovation Sprints

A great innovation strategy is necessary but not sufficient. Creating value in a world of shortening product and business model life cycles requires decisive action—and speed. We work with clients in a sprint-based approach to develop and launch minimum viable products consistent with the strategy. Offerings are evolved in this “test and learn” approach—and the less successful ones are dropped to free up resources for other projects.

Supporting expertise and offerings:

Business Build and Scale-Up

Maximizing the return on innovation investments requires the ability to find product-market fit and scale the most promising projects fast. We work closely with clients to help them make the transition from experimentation to execution of a new product, service, or business model.

Supporting expertise and offerings:

Innovation Enablement

Increasingly, innovation success calls for the ability to continually build new innovation muscles—or to bring in new skills and capabilities from outside. We help organizations identify the critical capabilities needed and define the best path to obtain them, whether through corporate venturing, partnership, acquisition, or internal development.

Supporting expertise and offerings:

  • Our Corporate Venturing expertise can help clients gain access to a broader portfolio of future options.
  • BCG's Center for Growth and Innovation Analytics can help identify partnership and acquisition candidates.
  • Using Human-Centered Design via our specialty business BCG Platinion, we bring a hands-on approach to development and implementation.
  • BCG's Lean R&D/Engineering Health Check identifies opportunities to enhance process efficiency.

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Innovation Strategy and Delivery