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
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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