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How to translate market signals to action

With so many signals of disruption, it can be challenging for business leaders to identify which path will create competitive advantage and growth.

By Kristen Morgan


Changing consumer behaviors, advances in artificial intelligence and analytics, and increasing competition from startups – these are just a few of the disruptive influences impacting nearly all aspects of today’s enterprise. Companies need more innovation to respond, but innovation is complex.

“Many companies are running as fast as they can simply to keep up with the pace of change, but are challenged to move even faster,” said John Farrell, KPMG’s National Managing Partner, Innovation & Enterprise Solutions (I&ES). “Organizations can get a lot right and still get innovation wrong.”

A major obstacle to innovation is the “inability to act on signals” or shifts that are critical to the future of business, according to a recent KPMG-sponsored report, Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2018, from Innovation Leader.

The findings came as no surprise to Farrell, who is responsible for leading KPMG’s enterprise-wide innovation strategy. John uses this experience to advise Fortune 1000 companies on how to build sensing capabilities to anticipate disruption, make the right strategy decisions, and determine how to best invest for growth and competitive advantage.

“Innovation leaders are inundated by signals and they are struggling to prioritize them,” said Farrell. “But recognizing signals is only the beginning. Business leaders must determine how these forces might impact their company’s future, and then turn these signals into action.”

While the methods and approaches will vary, Farrell will tell you companies pursuing innovation are most successful when they focus on three foundational elements: aligning strategically, funding deliberately, and delivering impact.

In this video, Farrell explains how business leaders can recognize early trends and use those insights to navigate change, address changing customer expectations, outmaneuver potential rivals, and ultimately achieve competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Farrell is a respected voice on a wide range of business topics and is knowledgeable about:

  • Navigating changes to business and operating models
  • Changing customer behavior and expectations
  • Building market-sensing capabilities to anticipate disruption
  • Aligning investment to the innovation strategy.

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John Farrell

John Farrell

Chief Innovation Officer, Audit, KPMG US