12 Apr 2012
The Economist called the Global Innovation 1000 “the most comprehensive assessment of the relationship between R&D investment and corporate performance,” and
Tom Peters praised it as a “provocative, research-based article that is
sure to get you thinking.”
I have long been an admirer of Booz&Co’s thought leadership work around their Innovation 1000 project. For two years they were voted as generating the best thought leadership across all professional services firms according to Source for Consulting.
So I took the liberty of approaching Barry Jaruzelski who heads up the program to ask him a few questions about it. This is what he had to say:
1. First off could you give a brief overview of Booz & Company’s Innovation thought leadership campaign?
Every year since 2005, Booz & Company has conducted the Global Innovation 1000 study, which investigates the relationship between how much companies invest in R&D and their overall financial performance — and every year, we reinforce the core conclusion that there is no statistically significant correlation between the two.
The study examines the R&D spending of the 1,000 largest public companies and also explores a particular “deep dive” topic on innovation. The Innovation 1000 study serves as an umbrella for a range of other viewpoints, articles, and conference and
university speaking engagements on innovation.
We release the results in October of each year to the public via a press release, targeted media outreach and distribution to our client community. In addition, at launch we conduct a series of webinars for our firm’s alumni, study participants, and clients.
2. Please explain the business rationale behind Booz & Company’s focus on a thought leadership platform
and why Innovation was chosen as a topic?
As a firm, we have had a 60 plus year commitment to consulting on innovation, starting with a seminal article in 1950 in the Harvard Business Review which defined the concept of the Product Life Cycle for the first time. We conduct a wide variety of engagements and research on product development process improvement, R&D strategy, engineering effectiveness, and innovation organization for a broad range of clients.
Innovation is one of the eight core functional client service areas that we offer across our full range of industry groups. The Innovation 1000 study is a conversation starter with senior executives and serves as an umbrella for a wide range of intellectual capital on various aspects of innovation.
This study is important because it both builds our profile and builds our knowledge bank.
3. What business objectives did you/do you put in place, how do you measure them and how is your thought leadership campaign delivering on these?
In broad terms, we expect this study to achieve the following objectives:
1) Place Booz & Company in top tier business media worldwide as a leader in innovation thinking and research. In order to
evaluate our campaign we track media coverage , social media mentions, traffic to booz.com and strategy-business.com .
The study is cited each year in nearly 200 publications around the globe, spanning 27 countries.
2) Provide an effective vehicle to interest and engage clients and prospective clients. This is more difficult to track and measure, but we try to track the interest, leads and sales we generate that are directly and/or indirectly related to Innovation 1000.
3) Help secure speaking engagements – We track this in comparison to targets and the number of speaking engagements in prior years.
4. How do you ensure audience relevance in what you are publishing / researching?
Each year, we begin with a set of “candidate” subject focus areas which are discussed among a diverse set of partners and principals from various practice groups. The subject areas are debated for macro relevance, interest among clients and
overall feasibility. Every year we also discuss potential topics with clients and invite them to participate in the research via interviews on the “deep dive” topic.
5. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your thought leadership over the past few years?
We now spend much more time translating each piece of thought leadership into multiple formats to reach a wider variety of audiences more effectively. This includes translating our ideas into multi-media, social media and media-friendly formats.
There is such a barrage of information that our clients and audiences face that we have to work harder to stand out, attract attention and ensure our “big ideas” get heard. As well, while we still generate an incredibly extensive amount of IC, we are even more strategic about our focus areas and resource allocation. What hasn’t changed is our focus on thought leadership as a critical area of differentiation for our firm. The company White Space actually tracks the intellectual capital efforts of the consulting
industry and it has has rated Booz & Company #1 in Thought Leadership for the past two consecutive years. This is an honor we are extremely proud to achieve.
6. What have been some of the spinoffs of your focus on innovation? These could be internal (within Booz & Company) or external.
We have received invitations to write bylined or guest articles in other publications and to join advisory boards of clients and innovation-related associations (e.g. PDMA)
7. Given your experience, what are some of the tips you can share in terms of arriving at and getting a thought
leadership program off the ground?
Build a smart and strong team that is consistently committed to “putting in the work” over a number of years to build name recognition and profile.
Ensure that certain elements of your program are repeatable so you can scale and build success that you can recreate annually. And perhaps most importantly, do not over reach and create a program that collapses under its own weight after just one year
because it is too ambitious and demanding to sustain.
Take the long view and build something that is sustainable and focused on quality.
8. What have been the top three outcomes of Booz & Company’s thought leadership campaign?
1) Top Tier media coverage globally, client interest and engagements
2) Building a strong brand as a firm with proven expertise in innovation (from ideation to process to execution and everything in between)
3) Being ranked as one of the top firms in innovation consulting
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