Innovation drives the future. And, if the past is any indication, it’s looking bright.

According to research from Citrix Systems, “The Era of Hyper Innovation”, investments in new technology and flexible work models over the last year fuelled a $678-billion boost in revenue across industries around the world. And the stage is set for continued growth.

“If the pandemic has proven anything, it’s that innovation can happen anywhere,” says Tim Minahan, executive vice-president: business strategy at Citrix. “While sceptical at first, business leaders now recognise the benefits that hybrid work can deliver and are moving quickly to embrace the model, along with tools and processes that empower employees to create and innovate, wherever they happen to be.”

In-person collaboration and successful innovation used to be synonymous. But technology has changed this.

Almost nine in 10 business leaders who participated in The Era of Hyper Innovation survey say that the rollout and adoption of new, pandemic-inspired work tools has vastly improved the way individuals and teams interact.

Eight percent expect their organisation to enter a hyper-innovation over the next 12 months and generate more ideas than ever before as a result.

In the absence of face-to-face communication, employees have found new ways to connect that respondents to The Era of Hyper Innovation say are vastly improving collaboration among individuals and teams and driving greater innovation.

Ninety-three percent of those polled believe that increased digital collaboration has led to more diverse voices from across the organisation being heard and a greater range of ideas being surfaced.

Meanwhile, 80% say that they, themselves, have come up with more creative ideas during the pandemic as they have had more free time to think.

Where traditional mechanisms such as new customer acquisition, expansion into new markets and additional marketing activity used to be the primary drivers, organisations surveyed as part of The Era of Hyper Innovation attribute almost half of their growth over the last financial year to innovation, and specifically cited the following drivers:

* Adoption of new technology: 16%

* New products and/or services: 14%

* New ways of working: 14%

* New client/customer acquisition: 12%

* Expansion/entry into new markets: 12%

* Additional marketing activity: 11%

* New partnerships: 10%

* Mergers and acquisitions: 4%

To capitalise on the trend, business leaders are shifting their focus to new products and services. Of those polled, 69% say they will increase investment in R&D in the next 12 months and 28% will retain current levels, while just three percent plan reductions.

“Innovation doesn’t happen by accident,” Minahan says. “Companies that empower employees to do their best work, supported by the right technology and work models, can enable it and reap the benefits our research shows it can deliver.”