The launch this week of the “GE Global Innovation Barometer” at the World Economic Forum in Davos is shedding new light on the way in which innovation can be a growth driver around the world.
In a post on The Daily Beast today, Beth Comstock, chief marketing officer and senior vice president, GE, takes a closer look at the new attitudes revealed in the report, which surveyed 1,000 business executives in 12 countries. “Innovation in the 21st century requires a new blueprint,” she writes, “one that topples the top-down approach and engenders collaboration among companies, countries, and communities.”
“To help propel the world back to prosperity — and address the challenges being discussed now at Davos — innovation must yield purpose and profit…. Companies are moving beyond the old, closed model of innovation in which they competed to churn out ‘the next big thing.’ Three-quarters of executives said the way companies innovate in the 21st century will be totally different than the way they’ve innovated in the past.”
“Most important, the rules and expectations of innovation are changing globally in three main ways,” she writes. First, partnerships are moving to the forefront. Second, “individuals and smaller enterprises can be just as important to the innovative process as the big guys… So we’re learning to embrace creativity wherever we find it.” And third “to effect change, finding solutions that work at a local level is key.” She also underscores that companies need to re-think innovation in the context of “doing well by doing good,” as more than three-quarters of the respondents said they believe the greatest innovations of the 21st century will be those that address human needs, such as improved health and environmental quality, better energy security and increased access to education.
In the video below from the WEF conference in Davos, Comstock provides some of her other takeaways from the survey and the country-specific data that jumped out — such as Saudi Arabia’s commitment to innovation.