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When it comes to innovation, size doesn’t matter

When it comes to innovation, size doesn’t matter

But older organisations are dealing with all that ‘legacy spaghetti,” says Harvey Nash

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An organisation’s size has little impact on its ability to innovate regardless of whether it has a turnover of $50m or $500m. The likelihood of any organisation – apart from the smallest of companies – being innovative hovers around the 20 to 27 per cent mark.

This was a key finding of recruiter Harvey Nash’s annual global tech survey, which publishes insights from interviews with 3251 IT execs in 81 countries worldwide.

The report also said a company that is 3 to 5 years old is almost twice as likely to ‘very innovative’ as one that is more than 20 years old. This is no surprise, as many older organisations are grappling with keeping together ‘the spaghetti’ of legacy systems, organisational structures and processes, the report said.

This is enough to extinguish the will to live of even the most enthusiastic innovator, the report said.

"That ‘legacy spaghetti’ is the real brake on innovation, not the size or complexity – and older companies have a lot more of it,” the report said.

The tech community sees the chief technology officer as the c-level role driving innovation and IT advancement (29 per cent). The was followed by the chief executive officer (19 per cent), the chief information officer (13 per cent) and ‘someone much more junior' (11 per cent).

“For CIOs, who often see innovation as a big part of their agenda, this might come as worrying news,” the report said. “But it is evident that survey respondents believe the technology-centric rather than the business-centric views, wins the day.

“As Henry Ford said: ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.’ But maybe Henry Ford was only partially right. After all, for the centuries leading up to Ford’s innovation, faster horses were indeed what people wanted. And for the century that followed, faster, more efficient cars have been the focus. Progress is made from both revolution and evolution, involving CTOs and CIOs – and everything in between,” the report said.

Meanwhile, 30 per cent of respondents agreed that within 10 years, a significant part of the job they currently perform would be automated. Nine per cent said their job was already affected and 61 per cent disagreed that their role was under threat by automation.

Interestingly, only 60 per cent of global CIOs, CTOs or VP’s of IT said they held a computer or technology-related degree.

While 53 per cent of all survey respondents studied a computer science or technology-related course to degree level, 47 per cent came in via another route. Women are less likely to have studying a tech degree (43 per cent) compared to 55 per cent of men.

“Much of this variance is explained by women being more heavily represented in role like business analysis, creative roles and support, where technical degrees are less common,” the report said.