Gartner Business Quarterly

Proven guidance for C-suite action

Q2 2023

Getting From Pilot to Innovation at Scale

Put your innovations to work and drive great business outcomes

Organizations are piloting all kinds of exciting new technology, processes and products — but they are struggling to find new ways of working at scale. So how are successful leaders generating breakthrough results from their innovations?

Download this edition of GBQ to:

  • Draw lessons on business-led technology innovation from leading companies such as Microsoft, SpaceX and Schneider Electric  
  • Discover 5 counterintuitive practices of great innovation
  • Learn 3 practices for achieving widespread adoption of AI models

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    In this issue

    Help Your Talent Keep Transformation On Track

    Letter From The Editor

    Organizations are piloting all kinds of exciting new technology, processes and products – but they are struggling to move past this phase to durable new ways of working at scale. R&D leaders say a good half of their new offerings for the enterprise languish on the shelf, even after passing all the stage gates for success, while CFOs and CIOs say they’re not reaping the benefits they expected from their digital initiatives. After pushing hard to protect funding over the past three years for all sorts of trial runs, it’s time to see return on these investments. Put your innovations to work.

    This issue of Gartner Business Quarterly will help C-suite leaders get more experiments across the “Valley of Death” and into the business to get the big outcomes their companies require.

    We’ll show you how some of the most successful executives pick projects that work together for the biggest impact, recast relationships with tech providers to generate breakthrough results and enlist the whole company in both innovating and making use of innovations. They are redefining the concept of “value.” 

    They have found effective ways to instill confidence in stakeholders. In the process, they are growing both the top and bottom line.

    The global group of companies sharing tactics in this quarter’s edition include: AptarGroup, BDO UK, Boehringer Ingelheim, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson Controls International, Microsoft, Schneider Electric, Standard Bank Group and Western Union.

    GBQ helps you align with others and reach peak effectiveness, so your enterprise can achieve its goals, be bold and principled, and bring employees, investors, and the public along for the ride.

    Our standing departments keep you up to speed — Cutting Edge is a look at provocative new data; Briefs offer short takes about smarter spending and planning, talent and culture, growth and innovation, and data and technology.

    We welcome your feedback. Please contact me at

    — Judy Pasternak

    The Counterintuitive Path to Great Innovation 
    On the one hand, 64% of nonexecutive directors on corporate boards claim to be increasing their risk appetite in pursuit of growth. On the other hand, when it comes to innovation, only 16% of innovation leaders say their organizations accept a high level of risk. Closing this gap is a must. Executive leaders can pursue a wide range of projects and scale the right ones into the fabric of the business by doing five things that contradict conventional practices. 

    R&D Leaders Can Help Move Innovations Off the Shelf 
    Three-quarters of R&D leaders report that half of the innovations they deem ready for passing to the business end up unused. The tactics that will change this calculus are not one-off steps; they are continuous changes to the way R&D works within its function and with stakeholders. 

    Put User Experience at the Heart of Scaling AI 
    If AI models aren’t relevant to business outcomes or easy to handle, few will use them. Success stories from data and analytics leaders at BDO UK and AptarGroup demonstrate three practices for achieving widespread adoption: curated workflows, smart business partner communication and simple model interfaces. 

    The “Risk Balance Sheet” — What It Is and Why You Need One 
    A new method that translates risks into the familiar context of a financial ledger can increase leaders’ comfort with rolling out initiatives throughout the enterprise. Applying concepts such as “risk assets,” “risk debt” and “risk equity” can help executives assess their portfolio of major strategic decisions and clarify where the organization can afford to take a chance. 

    Amplify Business-Led Technology Innovation 
    Business technologists should be able to experiment with their own ideas, and central innovation leaders should help them. Technology leaders at three companies shared ownership of innovation by offering tiered support, synthetic data sandboxes and a collaboration platform.

    How Schneider Electric Deployed 500 Supplier Innovations in 5 Years 
    Suppliers are an underused source of creativity — most organizations are not ready to pursue, receive, evaluate and deploy their innovative ideas. Schneider Electric developed a system to elevate the best proposals, align them to corporate strategic goals, vet them and move them to the business. Escalating Smart Ideas New Thinking for New Times.

    The Whiteboard: Big Questions About How to Win in the New Climate Economy 
    The shift to a Climate Economy is rewriting the rules of business and government, and is already creating and destroying value. Let’s head to the whiteboard and sketch out how to navigate this era-defining challenge. One thing is clear: Realizing sustainable growth opportunities and mitigating risks will require innovation at scale.

    What Space Industrialists Can Teach Us About Business Growth 
    Companies such as SpaceX, Starlink, Blue Origin, Relativity Space, Sierra Space and Virgin Galactic have built an industry that expanded by 70% over a decade to $424 billion in 2020 — and some analysts think it will reach the trillion-dollar mark by 2040, if not sooner. The secret of these firms’ success? Applied — and unrelenting — innovation.

    A New Type of Relationship With Tech Providers Generates Breakthrough Results 
    Enterprise executive leaders should work with tech providers rather than hiring these firms to work for them. We highlight three cases where buyers and sellers made this change together to achieve high-impact outcomes: new business models, digital companies and cutting-edge industry services.

    Digital Spending Outcomes Improve When Executive Leaders Use These Tactics 
    Nearly seven in 10 CFOs say digital is failing to deliver the expected enterprise-level financial benefits, and most CIOs agree that value from enterprise digital initiatives has been — at a minimum — too slow to manifest. Rather than doubling down on investment discipline, executives must take a broader view and drive digital cohesion to close this gap.

    A Brick-and-Mortar Innovation Ecosystem 
    Ford Motor Co. plans to use the revitalized Michigan Central Station building in Detroit as the center of a 30-acre community where transportation and tech companies, startups and students can perhaps transform the future of mobility. This $1 billion investment is one of the newest examples of an innovation district, where participants share both physical space and — crucially — the overarching goal of commercializing ideas. Executive leaders involved in these inventor zones should keep their eyes on that prize as they consider whether or what role to play.

    About Gartner Business Quarterly

    Gartner Business Quarterly provides business executives with insights from best practices research and the real-world experience of practitioners. The journal’s insights especially equip executives to tackle challenges that cut across the C-suite and affect multiple executive teams. Writers, contributors and data analysts are members of Gartner Research & Advisory (R&A) whose teams are led by Senior VP Val Sribar. The Gartner Business Quarterly publication is led by Editor-in-Chief Judy Pasternak with executive sponsorship by Group VP Scott Christofferson.