Enthusiastic Skepticism

I’ve spent 20 years doing research in order to figure out how to become a successful innovator or entrepreneur in the technology field. I started to do this research when I was running Synamics and I needed to figure out how we could grow more profitably I’ve continued on doing research as I find I love challenging the status quo and in doing that, have become a bit of an enthusiastic skeptic. I’m now doing this research with the Impact Centre at the University of Toronto.

 

Losing Count

While many reports bemoan Canada’s lack of spending on Innovation compared with the OECD, we haven’t been using the same definition of R&D and this has caused it to be under-reported. Furthermore, numerous reports on Canada’s innovation economy have pointed out not only that Canada’s BERD expenditures are lower than the OECD average but also that they appear to be declining over time. This white paper looks at why our definition differs and what that difference has meant to Canada’s reporting of R&D expenditures.

 

Ousting the Founder

In my second study on Canada’s innovation challenges, I’ve determined that Founder CEOs outperform Professional CEOs in both Unicorns (privately held companies with valuations in excess of $1 billion) and venture capital-backed Canadian companies. But in Canada we are 2.5 times more likely to replace a Founder CEO with a Professional CEO. My conclusion is that Canadian founders have the right backgrounds to grow successful market-leading companies and that our reluctance to scale to that level may be attributed partially to our tendency to replace talented Founder CEOs with Professional CEOs.

Thinking Inside the Box

My first study at the Impact Centre has shown that Canadians lag Americans in their attitudes to innovation. The study found that there are 29% more Americans than Canadians who have a strongly positive attitude towards innovation. Americans outscore us in almost every dimension of attitudes towards innovation, among managers and employees, men and women, and among all age groups.

How Buyers Use the Internet to Select a Vendor

The Internet has drastically changed the dynamics between buyers and sellers and this shift has presented both tough challenges and great opportunities for sales and marketing departments. The landscape has changed from sellers “pushing” their wares to one where buyers now “pull” what appeals to them in their own way and at their own pace. Companies stuck in the old growth paradigm will eventually find it more difficult to compete and survive. Some may be feeling the pain already. We recently conducted some research to understand how the buying process has changed and how decision-makers rely on technology to: find potential solutions to their problems; narrow down potential vendors; and select the short-list of those lucky enough to participate. We surveyed 500 business people across industries to find out how buyers use the Internet when they are ready to buy. The context of the research and this report applies to consumer behavior on many levels, but has particular relevance to the B2B buying process.

Are you Spending Enough on Sales and Marketing?

Always a key question for any business leader is “how much should I spend on sales and marketing?” We researched 350 public companies in the software industry to understand the relationship between investments in sales and marketing and revenues.
The problem is that many companies expect to be able to grow without devoting enough resources to this critical expense area. They wonder why they can’t beat the competition consistently when they are being outspent. If it is true that you have to touch a prospect seven times before he becomes a customer then you have to have enough resources in sales and marketing to be able to do reach out to a prospect on a consistent basis.
If you want to see the high-level results of our research, click the button on the right to view the infographic. If you want to see how your company compares with others, contact us for detailed benchmarks.

Older Research

I’m a real believer in evidence based management and am regularly looking at various subjects in leadership. In order to do this, I conduct research from time to time with companies and with the general public. Every now and then I even get around to posting this stuff. In case you’re a nerd like me, I’ve summarized the research here.