Hazlewoods Magazine: Propelling your innovation engine forward

Published: Thursday 19 May 2022

Hazlewoods is an independent member of HLB, a global network of independent professional accounting firms and business advisers, ready to assist you no matter where you want to do business.

HLB surveyed international business leaders to understand how they plan to propel themselves forward in a future where innovation must be executed quickly and across multiple areas. 

Over the past couple of years, many businesses have made the most of new opportunities that came up at moments of disruption and change. However, as we overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and get back to business as usual, leaders will need to become more determined to innovate if they wish to advance their businesses further.

Funds to fuel innovation

Insufficient funding is one of the top three barriers cited by survey respondents when it comes to innovation.

Industries such as hospitality and travel are still behind the recovery curve when compared to others such as finance and healthcare. With the economic prospects still uncertain, it is understandable that some businesses still feel reluctant to allocate more funds to research and development (R&D) activities.

The majority of those who do have a dedicated budget, plan to fund it via cash flow or debt financing. However, economic uncertainty and inflation are top risks to growth this year and could impact both cash flow and the funding costs of debt financing. This means some businesses are exploring creative funding solutions such as government loans, grants or crowdfunding.

Organisational barriers to innovation

For innovation to bear results, it requires continual action by employers and employees. Lack of time seems to be the major barrier to innovation, followed by a range of cultural factors.

Finding time and space to innovate will be key over the course of this year. Creative thinking can happen anywhere, but in order for it to translate to innovation, ideas require support and follow-up action, both
from the top and bottom of an organisation.

Finding innovators and retaining them

Whilst funding is a barrier for many businesses, true innovation cannot just be bought. People are also key but, similarly to funding, many businesses struggle to attract and retain the right talent.

Competitive pay and benefits are no longer the only criteria on which employers are judged. Businesses need to excel when it comes to their company culture, vision, market positioning, workplace environment and environmental policy to attract talent capable of driving innovation. 

Innovation and technology - the connection

Over the past couple of years, technology has proven to be a transformative force and many businesses now see technology and innovation as mutually dependent.

The pandemic has changed consumer preferences and habits. This represents an opportunity for businesses to reassess their perception of the industry and refocus their innovation strategies, using technology as a means to create value across areas such as product/service development, customer engagement, talent, sustainability and new business models.


The response to the COVID-19 pandemic by governments and businesses around the globe has shown us just how quickly some enterprises can respond in a crisis. According to HLB, business leaders entered 2022 in high spirits.

Content image: /uploads/team/unknown.jpg Scott Lawrence
Scott Lawrence
Partner, Audit and Assurance
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