Collaboration is key enabler for Canadian competitiveness: 2013 GE Global Innovation Barometer

GE's third annual survey of business executives worldwide shows Canada in top quartile for innovation - while framework is strong, country must move from ideas to execution  

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Jan. 17, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - While Canada has a strong foundation for innovation, a new survey suggests that businesses need to strengthen their ability to execute on product, service and process improvements.  That's according to Canadian business executives in the third annual "Global Innovation Barometer" released today by GE (NYSE: GE).  The study compares executive perceptions of innovation in 25 global markets including Canada.

Canada ranks in the top quartile on GE's innovation scorecard, along with Germany, Japan and the U.S.  Almost 9 in 10 Canadian executives or 87% report innovation is a strategic priority for their business, and 96% believe that small and medium enterprises and individuals can be as innovative as large companies.

Canadian business executives identified increased collaboration as one of the keys to successful innovation, a means to surpass competitors and generate revenue.  Results showed 85% of Canadian respondents would partner first to enter new markets (6% above global average), and 83% would partner to improve an existing product or service (8% above global average).

Despite the acknowledgement of the importance of collaboration, many Canadian businesses seem unwilling to share the resulting risks and rewards. Only 11% of Canadian executives surveyed said their firm would be open to sharing the revenue stream or losses that could be generated through a collaborative innovation.  That's the lowest of all countries GE surveyed (global average is 28%). About two-thirds of Canadian business executives raised a lack of protection of confidentiality/intellectual property (68%) and a lack of trust (64%) as concerns, both well above the global average.

"To succeed in global markets, the survey findings suggest that Canadian businesses will need to leverage Canada's solid innovation foundation, by increasing tolerance for sharing risk, developing new business models and undertaking greater collaboration," says Elyse Allan, President and CEO, GE Canada.

While new products and services have historically been the main driver of growth, innovation takes on many forms.  Business model innovation - e.g. process improvements and executing with greater speed - is gaining momentum as a route to success, and may offer a less risky and resource-intense path to be competitive.  In fact, 76% of Canadian executives believe that developing new business processes will improve profitability (13% above global average).

In order to innovate successfully, Canadian executives identified several key factors to success:

  • 88% identified the need to attract and retain innovative people (15% above global average)
  • 80% said create an environment and culture conducive to innovation (16% above global average)
  • 69% want to challenge generally accepted practices and ways of working (15% above global average)

Canadian business leaders also recognize the role of public policy in creating the conditions for innovation, and are calling on policy makers to take action on several fronts:

  • 59% encourage a stronger entrepreneurial culture in the education system (9% above global average)
  • 52% would like to ensure that business confidentiality and trade secrets are adequately protected (11% above global average)
  • 51% want to see policy makers fight bureaucracy and red tape for companies willing to access funds and incentives allocated to innovation (3% above global average)

GE commissioned the annual survey to explore how business leaders around the world view drivers and barriers to innovation, and how those perceptions influence strategy. StrategyOne, an independent research and consulting firm, conducted the study.

About GE's Global Innovation Barometer:
The research was commissioned by GE and conducted by StrategyOne between October 22, 2012, and December 5, 2012. Interviews with the 3,100 senior business executives were conducted by telephone across 25 countries. All respondents are VP level or above and directly involved in their company's innovation processes. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed are at the C-suite level. The countries included in the research are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA and Vietnam.

About GE:
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.

In Canada, GE has operations across the country, including major manufacturing, sales and service locations with 7,000 employees. Follow GE Canada on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/GE_Canada and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/GECanada.  For more information on the Canadian GE Global Information Barometer results visit www.ge.com/ca and follow hashtag #GEGIB.

About StrategyOne:
Founded in 1999 StrategyOne is an independent research company with offices in New York, Washington, DC, Paris, Abu Dhabi, London, Chicago, Brussels, Atlanta, Dubai, Houston, Rochester, San Francisco, Seattle and Silicon Valley.


SOURCE: General Electric Canada Inc.

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Court Elliott
GE Communications/PA
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Kim Warburton
GE Communications/PA 
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kim.warburton@ge.com