By: Fatema Fatakdawala
With nine out of ten executives reporting that it is near impossible to innovate in today’s economic climate, it is clear that a new model needs to be put in place to drive economic growth and improve quality of life. Around the world, companies are adopting new approaches to innovation. General Electric (GE) reveals three key findings from their “Global Innovation Barometer”, a study of almost 3,000 senior executives from at least 22 different countries that specialize in innovative strategy and/or decision-making. The results of this 2012 study are designed to help entrepreneurs and business leaders optimize their use of resources, deliver improved technologies and produce more with less.
Government support sparks innovation
Barometer results suggest that companies’ R&D budgets are at a higher risk when businesses sense a negative shift of government policies that support innovation. Beth Cornstock, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of GE believes that “investing in innovation is a critical piece of global competitiveness [and] governments and businesses both need to do their part to shore up the fragile innovation ecosystem.”
Shared value as a new approach
Globally, executives agree that great innovations of the future will be about shared value where not only the bottom line (profit) is considered, but also the value added to human needs. 73% of them also agreed that innovation will stem from people’s creativity rather than from scientific research. This new approach suggests an increase in teamwork and collaboration between partners to effectively tailor solutions to customer needs.
One size does not fit all
Although collaboration and shared value innovation is encouraged at the global level, on the local scale, innovation is highly dependent upon market factors. The innovation environments change dramatically as you move from country to country not only because of the different challenges and opportunities in the market, but also due to cultural differences and therefore people’s perceptions regarding where innovation is most effective and who is the most likely candidate to drive it.
Currently, the Barometer identifies USA, Japan, Germany and China as the most innovative countries. Canada is placed among the leading nations on six of the seven indicators on the innovation scorecard; falling below average on high tech exports. We have also been criticized for a lack of coordination between federal and provincial agencies in their innovation support programs. Nonetheless, Canada’s university-industry collaborations, venture capital deals and STEM education programs place it in the top tier globally.
Overall, global business leaders look for continued government support in delivering innovative products; they see the shared value approach as the main driver of prosperity and job creation at the global scale and they acknowledge that locally, innovation markets tend to be divided both geographically and culturally.
For more information on the GE Barometer, please visit http://www.ge.com/innovationbarometer/
Fatema joins the RIC team as the Communications Officer responsible for marketing, social media, event and web management. She is a graduate student pursuing her final year in the Master of Biotechnology program at the University of Toronto Mississauga.