By Marcus Leach

Three quarters of business executives think bureaucracy within organisations is the biggest barrier to innovation, according to a survey by London Business School.

The poll was conducted at London Business School’s 9th annual Global Leadership Summit on 23 May 2011, attended by more than 650 business executives from some of the world’s leading organisations.

When polled, 77 per cent of the business audience said that improving incentives, reducing red tape and promoting greater flexibility in the business environment was key to stimulating entrepreneurship.

Sir Andrew Likierman, Dean, London Business School, said: “Entrepreneurship and innovation are the key drivers of growth for both business and the economy in normal times. They are crucial right now in creating jobs to help economies emerge from the financial crisis.

“We’ve been teaching the subject for over 25 years and many of our top faculty are engaged in this area of research. It’s interesting to hear what business executives attending the Global Leadership Summit perceive the key hurdles and drivers of innovation to be.”

According to the poll, relying on employee promotions or other incentives is not enough to spur new ideas. When asked how you reward or incentivise innovative behaviour, two thirds (66 percent) said it should be done by creating a culture of innovation, inviting individuals to contribute and share ideas.

Other significant findings include:

- Eighty percent believe CEOs are key to driving innovation within organisations, but mainly by providing top-level support rather than being the source.

- Three quarters (73 percent) believe big businesses can innovate if they empower teams to develop innovation outside existing organisational structures.

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