Is innovation the key driver for businesses

(Staff Report)
Filed on February 3, 2011
Is innovation the key driver for businesses

DUBAI — Business leaders in the UAE believe in the importance of innovation as the main lever for a greener national economy and to improve citizens’ lives, according to the new ‘Global Innovation Barometer’ report by GE.

The first ‘Global Innovation Barometer’ also ranks the UAE high in the Innovation Optimism Index — an evaluation of how new thinking and applications can improve the quality of life. Is innovation the key driver for businesses (/assets/oldimages/innovation_03022011in.jpg)

The report comes as a befitting endorsement by the nation’s business community on the UAE’s policies, resources and budgetary allocations to improve education, create jobs, sustain healthcare and improve energy security.

The first-of-its-kind report outlines a new landscape for innovation in the 21st century, placing an increased premium on addressing local needs, marshaling the creativity of individuals and smaller organisations, and forging strategic partnerships.

The independent survey of 1,000 business executives in 12 countries, including the UAE, was commissioned by GE and conducted by research and consulting firm StrategyOne. “This study illustrates the new face of innovation and shows that as a global community, our priorities have shifted from innovations that just make money to innovations that also have the power to create good in people’s lives,” said Nabil Habayeb, GE’s President & CEO for the Middle East and Africa region.

Saudi Arabia ranks highest in the Innovation Optimism Index at 88, followed by UAE at 86 while the average of the 12 countries is 75, underscoring the increasing appreciation in the Arab world on the value of innovation for its positive impact on the society. Some 90 per cent of the UAE respondents said the nation was very or quite successful in allocating its policies to improve education and in creating jobs, while 92 per cent said the policies are in the right direction to sustain healthcare, and 84 per cent said the policies can improve energy security.

In the Innovation Context Index, which ranks the satisfaction level on the innovation environment in their countries, Saudi Arabia and the UAE rank at 72 and 70, respectively - much higher than the 12-country average of 59. An overwhelming 76 per cent of the respondents in the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia (62per cent), say public private partnerships are essential in developing innovation.

The research also focused, specifically, on healthcare and energy — two key growth sectors for the Middle East region. The majority of respondents in Saudi Arabia (90 per cent) and the UAE (94 per cent) said innovation will improve energy independence; the country’s carbon footprint (Saudi Arabia – 88 per cent; UAE – 84 per cent); and energy distribution quality (92 per cent for both the countries).

Some 76 per cent of UAE respondents said innovation will help manage energy costs while 66 per cent from Saudi Arabia endorsed the view. In driving the efficiency of energy consumption too, innovation has a strong role, observed most respondents (Saudi Arabia – 82 per cent, UAE – 74 per cent). The figures were higher than the international average, highlighting the confidence of the region in innovation-powered energy use efficiency.

In a similar trend, the Saudi Arabian and UAE response to innovation to improve healthcare efficiency was also recorded as higher than the international averages. Some 92 per cent of Saudi and 82 per cent of UAE respondents said innovation by companies operating in their countries could improve overall health of the population.

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