GE released today its second annual Global Innovation Barometer, a survey of nearly 3,000 U.S. and foreign business executives on innovation. The report identified innovation as “inextricably linked” with economic growth and as the primary driver behind job creation and the rising quality of life.
The study also confirmed the findings of GE’s inaugural Barometer from January 2011. That survey found that companies are moving beyond the traditional, closed model of innovation and embracing a new paradigm. This new model fosters collaboration between several partners, values the creative power of smaller organizations and individuals, and tailors solutions to meet local needs.
On the flip side, the survey found that the lingering global economic uncertainty has hampered the ability of companies to innovate by making it harder to raise external funding and access venture capital.
“This year’s study confirms a lot of what we’ve been seeing in the global marketplace, that the uncertainties inherent in today’s economic environment are challenging business’ ability to innovate,” said GE’s senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer Beth Comstock. “We see these results, in some ways, as a rallying cry for business leaders to understand where and how their innovation strategies are being challenged and to drive to new models. Innovation is a powerful lever to address the challenges of a growing world. It allows us to use resources more efficiently, produce more with less and deliver better technologies to help markets drive economic growth and better quality of life.”
Last week, Fast Company magazine carried a cover story titled “Generation Flux,” which featured Comstock. In that story Comstock anticipated the Barometer’s findings. She talked about the need for speed and agility in a fast changing world, the importance of accepting chaos and embracing new skills. Innovation is a big part of this. “Business model innovation is constant in this economy,” Comstock said. “You start with a vision of a platform. For a while, you think there’s a line of sight, and then it’s gone. There’s suddenly a new angle,” she said.
The Financial Times pointed to Germany as “the most self-confident large economy in business innovation, according to the survey.” The newspaper quoted GE chief economist Marco Anunziata as saying that “Germany has performed brilliantly when it comes to adding new ideas to products and processes in the kinds of sectors in which it has traditionally excelled.”
The poll picked the U.S. as the country with the best reputation for innovation. The full findings of the innovation barometer are here.