Large, publicly listed multinational companies are under intense pressure from shareholders to deliver both high and sustainable growth rates or suffer severe penalties, as reflected in their global stock market prices. Since the revenue bases of these organizations are already in the multi-billion dollar range, this often means that these conglomerates need to make some “big bets” in their research, technology development and innovation pipeline in order to achieve the growth rates demanded by their shareholders.
Industries that are faced with “big bet” innovation challenges include well-established business sectors such as pharmaceuticals, energy, IT, telecommunications, aerospace, car manufacturing, bulk chemicals and power generation. Some of these innovation “big bets” have paid off handsomely and others have resulted in major write-offs. It is instructive to review some notable recent successes and failures.
Big Oil Bets
The giant multinational energy company, Shell, is a good...