Finding the right approach for effective serial breakthrough (radical) Innovation has become the “holy grail” for today’s companies. However, a survey conducted by Arthur D. Little of over 80 large organizations shows that there is still a long way to go before companies’ efforts match their aspirations. In this article, a guest feature written by Fredrik Härenstam, Ben Thuriaux-Alemán and Richard Eagar at Arthur D. Little, the authors discuss some important key factors for success.
Arthur D. Little recently published an analysis of the global cloud market, and the findings are disillusioning for European competitors. Twenty-five American companies control 60% of the global cloud market, whereas around 100 competitors in Europe share approximately one-quarter of the global cloud traffic. Nevertheless, the growing market is still attracting new players. Arthur D. Little experts consider the huge competition a problem for these players because it makes it almost impossible for them to develop the clout necessary to survive in the global market – this is the case for many European carriers. They will have to find new paths, such as alliances with other players. Arthur D. Little experts recommend that instead of copying the big players, these smaller carriers offer more specialized services to avoid economic competition with the giants of the Internet.
Digital health has been a well-promoted vision for several years now. But current studies show that the ambitious plans seem to be stuck. Only 3.1% of German start-ups are in the e-health sector. Less than one-quarter of German doctors actually use electronic sharing tools – the average in the EU is 36%. Globally, Germany’s health system ranks number five among the most expensive systems. The new methods and technologies may offer a chance to decrease the spending. Experts demand that the government put more effort into extending digitalization in Germany. Therefore, nationwide laws and rules are required. However, there is still little doubt that e-health and medtech are important future markets. Arthur D. Little experts expect a market size of $233bn in 2020. For companies managing to develop innovative and popular new solutions, there is an abundance of chances.
European automobile manufacturers have seen a very successful first quarter of 2015. The impairment of the euro caused price hikes in the stock market. Among the big winners of the last few months are Fiat Chrysler, PSA Peugeot Citroën and Renault. The expansive monetary policy of the European Central Bank is advantageous to companies that are strong in exports. Weaker producers from the south of Europe have seen price gains of 40–60% in recent months. Other big winners are German premium brands Audi, Daimler and BMW. The demand for cars in Europe is slowly rising again, after recovering from the financial crisis. Furthermore, Arthur D. Little experts foresee opportunities from the intercontinental free trade agreement between Europe and North America. A quick agreement will cause another increase in demand for European cars. On the other hand, ADL’s experts see a slowdown for the Chinese market.
Connectivity and smart solutions are the current big economic trend topics. Critics in Germany complain that the proceeding of Industry 4.0 is by far too unstructured. While most small businesses declare that industry 4.0 (smart production) is a completely new challenge for them, large-scale industry already proclaims to be in the post-industry-4.0 era. Markus Achtert, leader of the Competence Center Engineering & Manufacturing of Arthur D. Little, points out that industry 4.0 must no longer be considered only a technical or production topic. The new methods need to be implemented in all distributions of a company, such as marketing, research and development, and services. In general, the new technologies create a whole new field of services for companies to invest in. On the other hand, many German producers are afraid of the competitors that are growing around the digitalization topic. An example involves recent rumors about Apple's plans to design a car.
Gas use for power generation in Europe has fallen dramatically in recent years, by 13% from 2005 to 2014. Gas use in the power generation sector represents 90% of this drop, or around 50 bcm. Current total gas demand forecasts are for low single figure growth for annual consumption over the next decade, although peak demand is expected to grow faster. This dramatic change is due to a combination of economics and policy interventions. In this article, a guest feature written by Kirsty Ingham and Yvonne Fuller at Arthur D. Little, the authors analyse the causes and prospects for the future.
In Austria, Swedish fashion retailer H&M is looking back on its most successful year in recent history. In 2014 the company’s annual surplus was €18 million, an increase of 44% compared to 2013. In the next quarter H&M Austria expects another slight growth in revenues. The good result is surprising to many experts because the fashion environment is becoming more and more competitive. In particular, the low prize segment makes it difficult for established companies such as H&M to maintain their market positions. Furthermore, online shops are attracting a growing number of customers.
Lars Riegel, a retail expert at Arthur D. Little, points out that the cooperation between H&M and leading star designers is a good way to create a unique brand and differentiate from competitors. He believes that presence at big fashion shows, such as in Paris, is mandatory for H&M. He also advises that H&M expand its online business. Worldwide internationalization is another key factor for a successful future.
Chinese scientists are planning the biggest space project in the history of mankind. According to Xinhua, the official news agency of the People’s Republic, Chinese engineers plan to send a solar panel 36 kilometres above ground. The energy produced is to be sent down to earth via laser. Ecology is becoming more and more important in China, and the space power station is considered a milestone in tackling smog and pollution. An energy station in space would be able to produce around 10 times more energy than solar stations on earth because the weather would no longer be an obstacle. Nevertheless, many experts are skeptical: The planned station would weigh around 100 tons. Currently it is hardly possible to send 10 tons into orbit.
The idea itself is not new. Science fiction author Isaac Asimov described a similar project in his short story, “Reason”, in 1941. Peter E. Glaser, former Vice President for Advanced Technology at Arthur D. Little, worked on a similar project for years during the 1970s. Glaser received financial support from NASA.
Volkswagen’s main factory in Wolfsburg again has the highest degree of capacity usage among German car factories. In the last quarter of 2015, around 225 cars were produced in Wolfsburg. The latest Arthur D. Little Automotive Quarterly newsletter points out that the VW factories are producing close to their capacity limit. The company therefore plans to use more high-tech robots in the future. With 94% capacity usage, VW Wolfsburg has reached the maximum value among German producers. The average value in Germany is around 73%. Volkswagen itself still has potential. Its factories in Hanover and Emden, for example, have more available capacity than the factory in Wolfsburg.
Innovation is key not only for starting a business but also staying ahead on the pack. It is increasingly important for companies to be able to deliver a pipeline of breakthrough (or radical) innovations in order to respond to emerging competition, disruptions to core business, and increasing customer power. Yet despite this, nearly all companies are unsatisfied with their efforts to date. In this article, a guest feature written by Fredrik Härenstam, Ben Thuriaux-Alemán and Richard Eagar at Arthur D. Little (ADL), the authors discuss the results of a survey they conducted on more than 80 large organisations to explore best practices in this area.