The march of the makers: how can UK innovators grow and win against their global rivals?

Business leaders see innovation as one of the most powerful levers for growth. So what do British firms do well and what do they do differently compared to their global competitors? How strongly do UK plc’s innovation practices contribute to their top line?

Our UK innovation report ‘the March of the Makers’ uses our global innovation survey data from over 1700 c-suite interviews to shine a light on the state of innovation in the UK economy.

Learning lessons from the UK’s best

Our survey identifies five key themes in the way these UK leaders strive to keep ahead of their global competitors in the innovation race:

1. Lead from the front - 71% of the leading UK innovators say senior executive participation is a vital aspect of innovation culture. Time spent developing a coherent innovation strategy is time well spent by senior executives.

2. Invest to win - The leading UK innovators are willing to invest more – 78% more. They have disciplined processes to check that money spent on innovation initiatives translates into tangible results.

3. Build a balanced portfolio - The most successful UK innovators focus a greater proportion of their efforts (43%) on breakthrough and radical innovation. Products remain at the core of many portfolios, but new business models and services are powerful drivers for growth.

4. Structure and collaboration - Successful innovation does not happen accidently: it can be planned for and made to work more efficiently. 85% of leading UK innovators describe their innovation processes as ‘formal’ or ‘structured’.

5. Make full use of Government - The UK government needs to create favourable conditions in which companies have the confidence to invest in innovation. Less than a third (31%) of UK companies say they take advantage of innovation tax incentives. In India, US and China the take up rate is over 57%.