In brief

In brief

  • Accenture research shows that a vast majority of Nordic companies are struggling to generate real results from their innovation investments.
  • A few companies have understood what it takes to innovate successfully, showing impact and financial results. We call them Innovation Champions.
  • What can we learn from these Innovation Champions? – find out in this piece of research.

Innovation is a must for companies to survive today and in the future. Still, very few businesses have understood how to innovate successfully and turn innovation into tangible financial results.

Those that have, have not only outperformed others financially over the last 5 years - they also have higher expectations on future results. We call them Innovation Champions.

Innovation Champions in the Nordics

Carrying out a survey of 120 Nordic companies to create the Accenture Innovation Maturity Index, we found that 10% of the surveyed companies are Innovation Champions. Not only do these companies score higher on the Index. They also report higher revenue growth and profit from innovation in the past 5 years - and expect stronger financial results from innovation in the next 5 years. Innovation Champions do two fundamental things:

They innovate by design

Innovation design consists of: Innovation strategy, Innovation culture and Innovation architecture.

They embed innovation practices

The seven innovation practices are: Hyper relevant, Inclusive, Technology propelled, Talent rich, Data driven, Network powered and Asset smart.

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Disruptive innovation approach matters

When looking at innovation design, we found that Innovation Champions differentiate themselves from others by focusing on innovation ventures geared to solve problems. They focus more on disruptive compared to incremental innovation and they have more senior leadership teams managing innovation in their organizations.


of Champions focus on disruptive technologies, compared to only 35% of others.


of Champions have senior leadership teams driving innovation, compared to 44% of others.

Key innovation practices

When looking at the seven key innovation practices measured by the Index, we found that Nordic Innovation Champions stand out compared to other companies in the Nordics particularly when it comes to being Asset smart, Data-driven and Talent-rich.

Innovation Champions differentiate themselves in all of the seven innovation practices, but they stand out most in their ability to continuously be  asset smart, data driven and talent rich.

Innovation Champions stand out markedly

Asset smart

Being Asset smart is about managing assets and operations intelligently to be able to run businesses as efficiently as possible and free up capacity for other innovation investments.

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of Champions have over the past 5 years made significant progress to divest underperforming assets vs. 9% of other companies.

Data driven

Being Data driven is about generating, sharing and deploying data to deliver new products and service innovations.

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of Champions have used behavioural data to improve a product or service, vs. 20% of other companies. And 67% of Champions have used multiple-source data to predict future demand.

Talent rich

Having a talent rich approach means working on developing a flexible and adaptive workforce and being able to attract multiple sources of talent outside of the current workforce.

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of Champions vs. 24% of other companies have implemented a flexible workforce.

Are you ready to become a Champion?

Our research shows a clear connection between innovation and financial performance.

Companies that clearly realize the connection between innovation and their future business will be better able to develop the innovation fluency that generates tangible financial results.

Based on econometric modelling using the survey results, a 1-point improvement on Accenture’s Innovation Maturity Index will on average drive a 3 percent growth in revenues and a 4 percent growth in profit.

Small changes in approach can make a big difference for everyone.

Agneta Björnsjö

Senior Principal, Nordic Research Lead – Accenture Research

Nanna Svahn

Research Associate Manager – Accenture Research

Tomas Nyström

Managing Director, Global Lead – Emerging Technology Accenture Technology


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At Accenture’s Nordic signature event 360 Live, we launched our research on ”Transforming with confidence. Turning innovation into results”. Check out the research slideshare and the video, where experts and business leaders comment on the topic - and learn how to turn your innovation investments into results.

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