“Innovation lags in countries where the culture emphasizes risk avoidance and where R&D is seen purely [as] an expense, not an investment.”
This quote from Prinn Panitchpakdi, an investment executive in Thailand, jumps out from a new Bloomberg report on how nations rank in several measures of innovation. He couldn’t be more correct, and what’s true of countries is equally true of industries and individual companies. If innovation isn’t a core value, stagnation follows.
The bad news is that by Bloomberg’s calculation, the United States has slipped out of the global Top 10 for innovation. We were leapfrogged in the new rankings by France, which jumped from 11th to 9th, while the USA slid from 9th to 11th. South Korea came in first, with an aggregate score of 89.28 across the seven categories Bloomberg used in its rankings. The United States’ score was 80.42, about 10% below South Korea. Others in the Top 10, in order, were Sweden, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Finland and Denmark (#s 2 to 8), and Israel (10th).
The U.S. ranked first in “high-tech density” – a measure of a nation’s share of the globe’s tech companies. It was second in the share of patents awarded to its residents, sixth in productivity per worker, and 10th in “R&D intensity,” defined as research and development expenditures as a percentage of GDP. Of greatest concern was the United States’ #42 ranking in “Tertiary efficiency,” an educational metric that factors in the percentage of the population that’s enrolled in post-secondary education or has earned a higher-education degree, as well as the proportion of science and engineering degrees among the educated populace.
Should brands and companies value innovation? Only if they want to share in the prosperity that comes with a growing economic pie, instead of scrambling for bites of a shrinking one. In the market research sphere, valuing innovation means making it an important part of your own scorecard when you’re seeking the technology, panel engagement, and survey and analysis capabilities you need to obtain data and insights that are timely, validated, accurate, and provide a trustworthy basis for the business decisions that will drive a company’s growth.
While “what can you do for me?” is certainly the foremost question you should ask when you’re vetting potential research suppliers, it’s also worth asking, “what are you doing to invent a better/faster/easier/more reliable way for me to achieve what my research needs to achieve?" If the answer is hemming and hawing, you know you are not talking to an innovator. But if you get an answer full of specific details about new research capabilities you can use, including what they do, how they work, and why they aren’t the same old approaches and techniques repackaged under an innovative-sounding name, then you’re in the presence of a real innovator who can help you drive your brand's success.
Products and solutions such as mobile-app surveys, real-time GeoLocation studies, video-enriched surveys, and Social Ad Testing are among MFour’s investments in market research R&D. The newest MFour capability, Path to Purchase Solutions, weds Big Data to survey data by tracking consumers’ daily journeys to 12.5 million U.S. retail locations and other points of market research interest. You can also get the most pinpointed location-based surveys, reaching shoppers in-store or in a mobile exit survey.
Here’s another quote about the importance of innovation, this one from Amy Jones, Vice President of Market Research for Warner Bros. Pictures: “MFour is always trying to do new things. They’re presenting us with new ideas and new ways of doing research.”
For a productive conversation about how mobile-app research and innovation can fit your projects’ specific needs, just get in touch by clicking here.