Purchase, NY, March 30, 2021 — The increased demand for digital-first solutions and more customized experiences over the past year has led companies to place a greater emphasis on innovation. In the second edition of the Become Index, 53% of executives say their organizations place a high priority on innovation. Close to half of businesses surveyed (42%) responded to the need by increasing innovation budgets. They developed new ways to keep workers safe and novel paths to connect with and cater to customers while safeguarding customers’ health and peace of mind.

Become, sponsored by Mastercard and powered by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Business Innovators Index, is an annual, long-term innovation research initiative. It provides the actionable insights and roadmap needed to spark innovation, all informed by the extensive research and diverse input from consumers and key innovative businesses around the globe.

In its second edition, Become surveyed more than 1,800 business leaders and more than 10,000 consumers around the world and across industries to identify the traits demonstrated by the most innovative companies:

Alex Clemente, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR-AS) managing director says, “As the world continues to emerge from the pandemic’s long shadow, the pace and speed of innovation has brought on new opportunities, but also some challenges. Many organizations have proven they can be fast, agile, and emerge stronger to whatever awaits next, but there are some gaps in what businesses saw important and what consumers need during and after the pandemic. I believe business and society are now forced to redefine what it means to be innovative. And businesses everywhere should re-evaluate if the new-found velocity and pace of change can be sustained.”

If companies are to excel into the future, addressing today’s risks and consumer demands include focusing on five key areas:

Michael Miebach, CEO at Mastercard says, “This report shows that people are demanding real action. The world has changed from the pandemic, and people have less patience for just talk. As we’ve seen in these findings, many businesses aren’t meeting that expectation and so will need to work harder to do so.”