UAE businesses embrace culture of digital innovation and advanced manufacturing to achieve transformational growth, according to a latest survey findings released by General Electric (GE).
GE on Tuesday unveiled the UAE results of its 2016 Global Innovation Barometer, which explores how business leaders and members of the public perceive the opportunities for and barriers to innovation in a changing complex global environment.
The UAE findings of this year's Innovation Barometer highlight the clear focus of businesses on developing a culture of innovation in preparation for a digital future.
Now in its fifth year, the research surveyed 2,748 senior business executives and 1,346 informed publics across 23 countries. In the UAE, the survey covered 100 C-level business executives, and was conducted as the nation continued its focus on innovation, following the 'Year of Innovation' announced last year. Rania Rostom, chief innovation officer for GE in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey said, "The UAE Innovation Barometer findings showcase the success of the UAE government's National Innovation Strategy, which is focused on accelerating innovation to become one of the world's leading knowledge economies. There is a strong readiness amongst leading business executives in organisations across the country to invest and collaborate on innovation initiatives."
Rostom added, "At GE, we are committed to promoting localised innovation that strengthens productivity and efficiency, and are aligned with a digital industrial future. Here in the UAE, we drive this through the GE Ecomagination Innovation Center in Masdar City, where we are developing never-before-seen hardware and software solutions focused on the needs of our customers and partners. GE is committed to supporting the UAE's robust innovation ecosystem as it adapts to the next industrial era."
Advanced manufacturing ready
Highlighting the role of digital industrial technologies in driving manufacturing sector efficiency and productivity, 87 per cent of the UAE executives - higher than the global average - said in the next 10 years, advanced manufacturing such as through 3D printing, will radically transform the industrial sector.
A Digital future
Several questions in the latest survey discussed the importance of digital technologies. Not surprisingly, UAE executives are 'digital ready,' with 58 per cent of the respondents, 11 per cent higher than the global average, recognising the strategic value of data and analytics. Additionally, 82 per cent have already increased their ability to analyse large amounts of data - up from only 50 per cent in 2014. Nearly 85 per cent share their concern on the impact of the fast-paced growth of digital technology on businesses, stating they are mindful that more and more businesses face the challenge of 'Digital Darwinism' - the risk of becoming obsolete if they fail to adapt and embrace technological changes.
Business models & risk-sharing
Nearly 75 per cent of respondents said their firm is open to sharing the revenue stream or losses that could be generated through a collaborative innovation initiative, while 85 per cent said revenue and profit through such collaboration has been growing over the last year, indicating that businesses are looking both inside and outside their own walls to drive innovation forward.
Underlining the innovation-focused business and entrepreneurial landscape of the UAE, 77 per cent of the respondents said their company has a clear innovation strategy, with 87 per cent stating that the most innovative companies not only launch new products and services but also create a new market that did not previously exist. Some 61 per cent respondents said the energy industry would be the sector to benefit most from investment in innovation, with nearly half of them agreeing that innovation will most likely be felt in increasing energy efficiency, and helping consumers use and waste less energy.
With 74 per cent responding positively, the UAE is one of only a few countries that feels their education system is ready to answer the future skills challenge. The same number believe that the digital revolution will have a positive or neutral net impact on employment.
The digital revolution is also expected to alter the nature of work in the future; over one-third believe that the digital revolution will enable new and flexible ways of working, and a similar number are optimistic that it will improve the quality of jobs. One-fourth of the UAE respondents said the digital revolution will increase the responsibility of businesses to provide training and educational support to employees.
More than half said the private sector will have the responsibility to address the impact of technology, and 72 per cent said a lack of talent or inadequate skillset prevents the ability of businesses to innovate efficiently. In addition to the technical requirements needed to do their job, UAE executives look for problem solving abilities, analytical skills, and creativity in their ideal candidate.
Source: The National