SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) — Innovation is a priority for 94 out of 100 business leaders, according to the Plante Moran 2013 innovation survey results. That is 15 points higher than last year and indicative of a trend that is validated by other research.

There is also strong evidence that organizations are taking the necessary steps to create a richer environment for innovation in the year to come by implementing new management techniques and new organizational strategies and structures.

In an effort to support the increased appetite for innovation, the CPAs and consultants of Plante Moran took the survey results as a jumping off point and offer case studies in collaboration and game changings business models as well as conversations with experts in entrepreneurship, commercialization, innovation strategies and global matchmaking — all topics relevant to the survey respondents.

“Based on our data and that of our collaborators, we feel justified in saying that 2013 saw major gains in innovation,” said Chris Jones, leader of the Plante Moran innovation team. “And we wanted to do more than just report on the survey results. We wanted to provide information that business leaders could use. In addition to benchmarking innovation attitudes and practice, our report engages more than 50 experts, provides best practices, and warns against pitfalls.”

Going Global
Jones points to an article in the report that brings together experienced global alliance matchmakers to help middle market companies understand what makes a good partner. Why address this? Plante Moran survey data indicates that entering new markets is the number one reason for small and middle-market companies to collaborate. This syncs with research by the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Surfacing this year was a trend toward seeking business partners for collaboration. Three out of four Plante Moran survey respondents said they were fully convinced that they could be more successful with innovation through partnership and collaboration. Earlier in the year, nine out of 10 of the U.S. respondents to the 2013 GE Global Innovation Barometer agreed. But what does it take to make collaboration work? Fierce competitors General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. explain how they overcame barriers and are now working together to develop 9- and 10-speed transmissions.

Research and Development
Finding new sources for innovation was another trend among the respondents to the Plante Moran survey, so the report explores options like incubators, research institutions, and ecosystems. There is even a discussion about when a middle market company should consider separating its R&D from operations to maximize results.

The innovators who contributed to Plante Moran’s study talk about a can-do attitude, and the report echoes that newfound confidence.

Five organizations collaborated with Plante Moran on its 2013 Innovation Survey. They included: National Center for the Middle Market, The TEC Institute at Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, CBS Detroit Radio and the WWJ Technology Report, the World Industrial Reporter and the NewNorth Center for Design in Business.

To read the Plante Moran 2013 Innovation Study, please visit:

To supplement the study, Plante Moran is also offering a series of webinars, two of which address innovation and research and development:

• Buying Innovation is an Option, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2-3 p.m. Eastern time.

• Talking strategy: Where does R & D belong in your organization? Thursday, Oct. 10, 2-3 p.m. Eastern time.

The webinar Choosing the Right Partner for Global Expansion was held Oct. 3. It is available archived at For a complete listing of webinars, registration, and CPE information, please visit

To read the Plante Moran 2013 Innovation Study, please visit:


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