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Research: The Key to Innovation

When you stop any person in the street and ask them "Name companies that you consider innovative", most people will name contemporary startups such as Uber, AirBnB or Warby Parker. If you then ask them to name any established firms that they consider innovative, they may say Google, Amazon or Facebook. Oddly, blue-chip companies such as IBM, Disney, General Electric or McDonald's are rarely mentioned in the same sentence that contains the word "innovative." During their hey-day, they used to be considered innovative firms, but today, consumers often equate innovation with brand new firms. In fact, if you look back in time, these blue-chip firms used to be the young darlings of innovation during their early days. Today, are the only firms considered innovative young?

When new firms try to break into a market or create a whole new market, there is one common thing that they all do: research. As a startup, they don't really know what they are doing and hence,…

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