Most senior executives recognize that innovation is critical to the success in retail today. Everybody says they are doing it, but are they?

In the course of our work, we help companies transform their results from innovation across numerous industries including high tech, industrial manufacturing, life sciences, consumer packaged goods and, of course, retail. It’s always interesting to observe what innovation means to senior executives across all of these industries, versus the opinion of a retail executive. For most of these industries, if you were to ask a senior executive, “What does innovation mean in your industry?” his or her first reaction would be to think of innovation as it relates to products they develop. Interestingly, if you were to pose the same question to a senior retail executive, his or her first reaction would be to think of innovation as it relates to the customer’s experience with their company.

As a result of this dichotomy, there can be confusion as to what innovation means in retail.