‘The Art of Smart’ 2019: global research reveals keys to corporate decision-making success

• Diversity driving smart decisions and explosive performance • Risk motivates Bold decisions and Innovation • Biotech setting the standard for smart decision-making

October 2019
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Global accounting network Crowe has launched The Art of Smart 2019.

Produced annually, The Art of Smart is the most comprehensive study of corporate decision-making in the world. It examines the traits of quality decisions in the context of corporate success by exploring Crowe’s four strategic indicators of good decision-making – Growth, Diversity, Boldness and Innovation – in order to provide insight to CEOs and business leaders on how to make better decisions for their businesses.

The report features the world’s only decision-making Index which analyses companies from across the globe, interrogating sector- and region-specific data, to benchmark them in relation to the quality of their business decisions. 

David Mellor, CEO of Crowe Global, comments:

“Crowe is committed to enhancing value for the benefit of our clients, our people and the societies in which we live and work. Part of that commitment is helping people to make smart decisions that bring lasting value. 

“The Art of Smart is a pioneering research resource which seeks to inform the discussion around strong and effective decision-making. More than any other factor, it remains the key component to determining successful companies and predicting future business success.”

Diversity driving smart decisions and explosive performance

Companies that scored highest in Diversity in The Art of Smart also achieved explosive business growth – 3,680% on average over five years. These companies are shown to have harnessed Diversity as a driver of performance by fostering inclusive cultures that provide an array of different viewpoints on which to base well-founded strategic and operational decisions.

The report also shows that European corporate board diversity is the highest in the world (34% female representation, compared to 23% in North America, 17% in Asia-Pacific and 5% in the Middle East) and that women tend to be more prominent in younger, bolder companies and in industries that are expanding quickly, such as Biotech and Metals and Mining.

Risk motivates bold decisions and innovation

The Art of Smart also reveals that risk is a motivation for bold decisions and innovation. The report’s findings suggest that bolder companies are often operating in more challenging business conditions, and the more challenging a situation, the bolder the company.

Innovative companies tend to be more prevalent in sectors where growth is sluggish, and, contrary to popular, belief younger companies do not necessarily innovate more. Successful companies operating in slow-growing industries had a higher number of recognizable innovations.  

In general, organizations in the Asia-Pacific region had the highest average Boldness and Innovation scores – 50% of the boldest companies are based there, as are 64% of the most innovative – a trend driven principally by China and other emerging economies in the region, as they seek to aggressively increase their market share.

Biotech setting the standard for smart decision-making

Biotech is a standout sector in The Art of Smart data. It is not only the most prominent sub-sector in Crowe’s entire index. It also dominates the growth rankings. 55% the top 20 companies ranked by overall growth (across all industries) were from US Healthcare – and of those, 73% were in Biotech.

The report discovered that Biotech’s decision-making success has been driven by its focus on identifying unmet needs or developing next-generation processes. It’s use of diverse teams to tackle problems in parallel, addressing them from multiple perspectives at once, also unlocks innovation. Although more expensive in the short-term, this allows products to be brought to market faster, returning profit to shareholders as quickly as possible.

Furthermore, Biotech is a leader in the successful deployment of tech tools to support and facilitate its work, opening-up greater possibilities for the development of new medicines and other Biotech applications.

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