Grasp the innovation imperative

Blog by HLB Global CEO, Marco Donzelli

5 January 2022

For many businesses 2021 provided some respite from the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, albeit less relief than some had hoped.  

 In last year’s annual Survey of Business Leaders, we explored how the crisis has prompted many enterprises to take a fresh look at their business models and pivot towards broader, longer-term and more enlightened priorities.  

 For the agile, the disruption of the pandemic has actually created the right conditions for businesses and whole sectors to benefit from rapid market shifts. The health and biotech sectors provide a great example of just how quickly enterprises can innovate in response to a crisis.  

An early finding from this year’s HLB Survey of Business Leaders supports a modest increase in business agility, with 89% of leaders agree that they are able to innovate with greater speed than in the past. 

 Given this, I have to ask myself if this increased speed of innovation is possible in the health sector, what else might businesses be capable of to prepare for the next great transformation?


Further early insights confirm that, in addition to strengthening their resolve, challenging trading conditions provide forward momentum for more successful innovation: 

  • In terms of confidence, 86% of business leaders agree that they are more confident in their ability to innovate today as compared to pre-pandemic 
  • 91% also agree that market disruption motivates them to innovate 
  • Most encouragingly, 93% of business leaders feel confident to challenge the way things get done in their own organisations 

“What surprised a lot of business leaders during the pandemic was their organisation’s ability to innovate, under pressure and under duress, when there was an existential threat,” according to David Sales, Head of Training, St Johns Innovation Centre in Cambridge, one of the experts in innovation we have spoken with to inform our research. “The big question now is, how do we sustain that capability to innovate? As the world settles down after the pandemic, let's not revert to the age-old acceptance that innovation takes a long time and it needs to be expensive’’. 

One thing is for sure, as societies and economies adapt to living with the coronavirus, attention is now firmly on creating new market opportunities to drive sustainable long-term growth. Over 80% of those we’ve polled agree or strongly agree that more rapid and effective innovation will be critical to driving this future growth.  

 I look forward to sharing further insights on the innovation imperative, from the barriers business leaders encounter to the key enablers to successful innovation, including the benefits of a diverse workforce. Reserve your space at the live launch of HLB’s annual global Survey of Business Leaders on 27 January 2022:

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