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Innovation Barometer Reports "Vertigo" Challenging Global Executives

By Ideas Lab Staff January 17, 2013

In its third annual survey of global business executives, the GE Global Innovation Barometer reports anxiety among leaders challenged by the changing business environment.

It is the largest global survey for innovation, questioning more than 3,000 executives in 25 countries. While anxiety exists over the changing business landscape, the 2013 GlobalĀ Innovation Barometer also found many executives embracing the new complexity by exploring new and sometimes unexpected opportunities to innovate.

“Change has become constant,” said Beth Comstock, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of GE. “We see leaders responding by betting big on more unconventional approaches to innovation to unlock growth.”

The Barometer found tension between the “desire for globalization and protectionist temptations”. 71 percent of executives preferred their government prioritize domestic innovation promotion, while 71 percent also wanted their governments to further open markets. There was a 53 percent overlap between those opposing views.

Global business leaders noted their concern over policy environments and their impact on innovation, wanting greater stability and supportive policy frameworks from their policymakers. The key to allowing innovation to flourish, executives believe, is safeguarding business interests and removing barriers such as bureaucracy and over-regulation.

Of all the criteria, talent is found to be key to innovation across the world. Education alignment with business interests was one of the top four concerns of 81 percent of the executives, however only 47 percent said it was a top business priority. 41 percent also say restrictions on access to foreign talent are growing, which is negatively impacting business innovation.

Innovation remains top business priority globally, but leaders conflicted as to best path forward.

The research, commissioned by GE, was conducted between October 22, 2012 and December 5, 2012. All respondents were VP level or above and directly involved in their company’s innovation processes.

More on GE’s Global Innovation Barometer results.