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Investing in innovation: Disruption is everywhere

We outline our definition of innovation and answer questions about our views on the breadth and depth of the innovation opportunity, how we identify and compare disruptive companies across industries, and the importance of robust research capabilities — including a private-equity mindset and strong ESG expertise.

The views expressed are those of the authors at the time of writing. Other teams may hold different views and make different investment decisions. The value of your investment may become worth more or less than at the time of original investment. While any third-party data used is considered reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed. For professional, institutional, or accredited investors only.

KEY POINTS

  • Innovation extends far beyond tech and health care. It happens across sectors, geographies, and market caps, ranging from a disruptive new technology to a radically improved business model.
  • This broad definition of innovation gives us a much larger opportunity set. To capture this opportunity, we compare innovative companies across industries using our Trend, Innovation, Barriers, and Risks (TIBR) Framework.
  • Our robust research capabilities — including our private-equity mindset and strong ESG expertise — are critical to accessing and evaluating this enormous opportunity.
  • Our approach to innovation can function as several different client portfolio solutions, offering potential return enhancement, growth opportunities, diversification, or a liquid complement to privates.

WE ARE AT THE DAWN OF AN AGE OF DISRUPTION as innovation triggers exponential change across industries. The opportunities this environment creates extend far beyond technology and health care — and to every geography and market cap. From changing consumer behavior to the ubiquity of “big data” to adapting to climate change, we believe investors need to harness the numerous long-term structural trends driving innovation. For example, the decarbonization of the US power grid will likely require a roughly US$4.5 trillion investment over the next 10 to 20 years.1

As the world rapidly evolves, we’re looking to invest in where we think it is heading. In our view, the future for nearly every sector of the economy will look very different. We think there are extremely few companies that don’t have the potential to be disrupted or disruptive in their industries. If a company is not driving or leveraging progress, we believe they are likely to be left behind. Importantly, though disruption isn’t a new concept, the pace of change is quickly accelerating. For example, the telephone took 75 years to reach 50 million users, Pokémon Go took 17 days. In addition, we think there is untapped value in underappreciated firms creating or benefiting from nonlinear change. These opportunities are crucial as we expect a structurally lower growth environment over the long term.

In this paper, we outline our definition of innovation and answer questions about our views on the breadth and depth of the innovation opportunity, how we identify and compare disruptive companies across industries, and the importance of robust research capabilities — including a private-equity mindset and strong ESG…

To read more, please click the download link below.

1Source: Wood MacKenzie, 2019.

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