Lack of time is the single biggest barrier to innovation

Teams working at full capacity miss the opportunity to try new, different and better ways of working

Austin Clark | 30th Jan 18
hands bringing idea lightbulb together High angle view of businessmen hands touching white papers arranged on a rustic wooden table forming a yellow light bulb. Conceptual for bright business ideas and innovations.

Innovation is a critical tool in delivering efficiencies and helping organisations stay ahead of their competition.

Yet, while 76% of employees agree that innovation is important to their organisational strategy, less than half (40%) of those felt their organisation was doing it well.

The biggest blocker to innovation is lack of time – some 82% of people felt the primary reason why their organisation does not innovate is because people are too busy reacting to day-to-day challenges.

The findings are from a recent survey of more than 300 people who work across the private and charity sectors. The survey was conducted by Lucidity, a consultancy that provides simple and practical ways to help individuals and organisations think clearly and get better results. The research was supported by Care2, the world’s largest social network for good.

Other key findings are:

  • Only 38% of respondents felt their organisation was really taking innovation seriously and doing it well. The rest were frustrated that innovation was discussed as being important, yet no real steps were being taken to drive it
  • Just over half of respondents are focusing on incremental innovation (53%) – the small changes that can add up to make a big impact
  • A third of responders are focusing their innovation efforts on new product development (30%)
  • 13% are focused on radical innovation that will change their organisational model entirely
  • Almost a quarter (22%) had no approach or strategy for innovation at all


Size does matter

The survey also found that organisational size impacts on attitudes towards innovation.

As organisations get larger (£1m+ turnover, 500+ employees), perceived importance and quality of innovation reduces – despite employees being set more personal objectives around innovation. Larger organisations are also more likely to blame lack of leadership, bureaucracy or simply being too busy as the reasons for a lack of innovation.

Smaller companies (<£500,000) value innovation more but are more likely to blame lack of skills and resources for failure to innovate.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Lucy Gower, director of Lucidity said: “Societally, organisationally and as individuals, we are not achieving the pace or scale of change required to tackle the key issues we face. Innovation can help provide some of the answers we need, but to be successful, it needs to be done well. If they are to be the best they can be, organisations need to find ways to create time and budget for innovation.”

To help individuals and organisations thrive at innovation, Lucidity is developing an online network offering learning, group support and reduced rates on 1:1 coaching. The aim of the network is to help participants find focus, strengthen their resilience, connect and engage with peers and new audiences, and importantly – optimise their time.