5 traits of highly innovative companies

The most truly innovative companies place a higher priority on risk, exploration and breakthrough ideas than their less successful peers, and pursue their lofty goals with a reliance on data analytics and executive backing, among other shared qualities.

The inaugural "Innovators Become Leaders" report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and Mastercard surveyed more than 1,000 executives to determine the five definitive traits of the most innovative companies. By surveying those executives on more than 40 behavioral and attitudinal innovation indicators, the report determined which of the organizations represented were truly innovative, and which were merely following or lagging behind.

Here are five qualities shared by the 17 percent of those organizations found to be leaders in innovation:

  • Speed in bringing ideas and solutions to market
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Commitment from the top
  • Entrepreneurial culture
  • Relentless focus on the customer

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