For my latest report — Innovating Corporate Strategy Services — I analyzed services providers' (from classical management consulting firms to traditional IT providers, from very small to very large organizations) track record in the innovation of lead themes or paradigms.

Thought leadership efforts play a highly significant role, especially in consulting services (they grant you access to the big guys, they drive new services and engagements, and generate recognition in an IP- dominated environment), however I was surprised about the small number that I found in the end.

All the smart people, all the dedicated research organizations, and obviously all the great client engagements have not really led to more sophisticated forward-looking thinking and "next big things"

Two key conclusions I came up with:

1. Most IT providers lag the vision thing: In a world shifting from IT to BT, providers must become not only tech but business visionaries. They tend to assimilate to trends and paradigms rather than innovate or shape them.

2. Many BT providers lag the vision thing as well: With a sometimes too model-centric approach, they are missing the holistic and forward-looking picture. Hence they focus more on new models and intense analytics rather than cultivate and innovate new disruptive themes.

However, it is now the right time to take a big bite into the innovation piece as the services market — as with so many other markets — is undergoing fundamental changes. 

My strategy services innovation chain might be a start for reflecting on your innovation process and efforts. I also gave some examples and recommendations in the associated teleconference I just conducted.

Innovative greetings,