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Innovation strategy in the US: top executives offer their views

C. Brooke Dobni (Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada)
Mark Klassen (Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada)
W. Thomas Nelson (Lodestar, Princeton, NJ, USA)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 19 January 2015




The USA is the world’s largest economy, but is it a leading innovation nation? As economies mature and slow in growth, innovation will prove to be a key driver in maintaining transient advantage. This article presents a pulse on innovation in the USA as F1000 C-suite executives weigh in on their organization’s innovation health. It also compares the US score with proxy benchmark measures in other countries, and provides operational and strategic considerations to advance innovation platforms in US organizations. Managers will gain insight into common hurdles faced by some of America’s most prominent companies, as well as how to improve innovation practices in their own organization.


This current article reports on findings of innovation health in the USA based on responses from 1,127 F1000 executives (manager level and higher). F1000 executives report their innovation culture through completion of an innovation culture model survey developed by the authors. The F1000 is a listing created by Fortune magazine detailing the 1,000 largest companies in the USA based on revenues. This survey is considered one of the largest surveys on innovation culture in the USA to date.


One of the leading questions that this survey set out to answer is the current measure of innovation orientation amongst America’s largest organizations. Our findings suggest that US business is just beginning to catch the wave of innovation. Other major findings include: innovation amongst the F1000 is average at best; innovation is random and incremental; innovation strategy is missing in most organizations; there is an executive/employee innovation perception gap; innovation governance is missing; employees can not be blamed for a lack of innovation; and companies that fail to innovate will struggle even more.

Practical implications

There are a number of operational and strategic considerations presented to support the advancement of innovation in organizations. These include considerations around the leadership, resources, knowledge management and execution to strategically support innovation.


This is an original contribution in that it uses a scientifically developed model to measure innovation culture. It is the largest survey of innovation to date amongst the US Fortune 1000, and the finding present considerations to advance the innovation agendas of organizations.



Dobni, C.B., Klassen, M. and Nelson, W.T. (2015), "Innovation strategy in the US: top executives offer their views", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 3-13.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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