Reinventing Innovation: To gain an edge in a reviving economy, companies are looking for little ideas that can create big value

July 2, 2014


CFO Magazine

Reinventing Innovation: To gain an edge in a reviving economy, companies are looking for little ideas that can create big value.

Josh Hyatt

Even with economic activity rustling back to life, few companies are eager to make big bets. A thin layer of growth hardly forms a solid enough foundation for businesses to pour money into hunting down breakthrough discoveries or conceiving cutting-edge technologies.

Not that it’s a bad time for innovation. In fact, now is an ideal time for a focused form of it. In a study of 275 senior finance executives conducted by CFO Research, in collaboration with American Express, just 13% of respondents said that they expected their companies to spend and invest “substantially more” in the coming year, with about a third (34%) choosing “about the same amount.” (See Figure 1, below.) (The full report, Reinventing Innovation, can be downloaded from

That said, investing in innovation during the early stages of a recovery can yield abundant benefits when the economy regains its full sheen. Armed with new offerings, a business can position itself to grab market share from its less-prepared rivals. As aware of this as they may be, finance executives aren’t about to cast away the cost-consciousness that has served their companies well during the downturn. What they are doing, instead, is bringing a new level of discipline to the innovation process.



About bambooinnovator
KB Kee is the Managing Editor of the Moat Report Asia (, a research service focused exclusively on highlighting undervalued wide-moat businesses in Asia; subscribers from North America, Europe, the Oceania and Asia include professional value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities, some of the world’s biggest secretive global hedge fund giants, and savvy private individual investors who are lifelong learners in the art of value investing. KB has been rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as an analyst in Asian capital markets. He was head of research and fund manager at a Singapore-based value investment firm. As a member of the investment committee, he helped the firm’s Asia-focused equity funds significantly outperform the benchmark index. He was previously the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. KB has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy, value investing, macroeconomic and industry trends, and detecting accounting frauds in Singapore, HK and China. KB was a faculty (accounting) at SMU teaching accounting courses. KB is currently the Chief Investment Officer at an ASX-listed investment holdings company since September 2015, helping to manage the listed Asian equities investments in the Hidden Champions Fund. Disclaimer: This article is for discussion purposes only and does not constitute an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investments, securities, futures or options. All articles in the website reflect the personal opinions of the writer.

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