Opinion: Innovation At Risk

By Scott Thompson
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

•Anticipate the market. The traditional model for product planning is customer-led. The more innovative approach anticipates the customer's future needs. Consider that General Atomics developed the Predator based on market anticipation.

•Improve execution. Although respondents generally rated product and process development as “mature,” only about one-third of respondents rated their execution as excellent or good. Many believe inaccurate technology assessments contribute to cost overruns and schedule delays.

•Incorporate disruptive technologies into your strategy. Consider allocating some of your R&D budget toward them. While new technologies can lead to greater risk, they can help create greater long-term value.

If companies assess the current state of their innovation processes and follow these recommendations, they will invest in innovation with more confidence so it will create long-term value for their shareholders. I can't think of a better example of risk-takers than the 20th-century aviators. Who will be the barnstormers of the 21st century?

Scott Thompson is a PwC partner and leader of its U.S. Aerospace & Defense practice. He is based in McLean, Va.

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