PwC’s Innovation Benchmark Report showcases five findings that can help guide any company through it’s innovation strategy. With over 54% of executives in the study reporting that they struggle to align their innovation strategy with their business strategy, it’s more important than ever for businesses to connect the dots and create an innovation guidebook that works for them.

  1. It’s not about how much you spend, but how you spend it.

Large and small companies both have the opportunity to innovate. According to PwC, none of their studies have found a statistical relationship between the dollars spend on innovation and financial performance. This means it’s most important to spend your money wisely, not just have a large amount of it.

So, what’s the best way to spend on innovation? More companies are exploring new models, such as design thinking, open innovation, and co-creation with customers, partners, and suppliers. Among the top metrics company’s use to analyze success is sales growth (69%), customer satisfaction ratings (43%), and the number of new ideas formed (36%).

  1. Focus on connecting the dots early.

Too many companies are making decisions without knowing if they will pay off. To really succeed in innovation, companies need to start early and bring people in from the business-strategy side of their organization.

“We need to focus on reimaging and experimenting with new business models,” GE Ventures CEO Sue Siegel said in the report. “Emergent technologies are very powerful, but what we have to figure out is, what is the sustainable business model that we could potentially either partner up with or use within our organization to drive growth.”

  1. Collaborative models work better.

The top innovation companies are using a wider network of ideas, insights, talent and technology. They incorporate the customer throughout the innovation process. Almost twice as many companies favor these new models over the traditional R&D model.

  1. People-powered innovation begins with the employees.

Innovation teams today work best when they seek out feedback from people across disciplines. Human experience and insights help deliver new ideas and solutions to companies, and employers value those employees who can make it happen.

The key to better employee insights and contribution? Fostering a culture of innovation, where employees feel they can contribute.

  1. Look to technology companies as an example.

Technology companies are by and far leading the movement in innovation. These companies think big and look for new solutions and products that fit the needs of their customers. Digital tech is also key in innovation, with industries using digital channels and data to further innovation.

To read more about the report, find it here.