Trends mixed for R&D

20 January 2012

NEW YORK: Most brand owners believe it is vital to develop new innovation models, but the recession and resulting corporate caution are hampering this process, a study has found.

General Electric, the conglomerate, and StrategyOne, the research firm, polled 2,800 senior executives in 22 countries, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK and US.

In all, 90% of the panel agreed global financial instability had negatively impacted research and development, with 88% pointing to difficulties in securing funding and 77% citing reduced corporate willingness to take risks.

More broadly, 88% of respondents took the view that existing models would be transformed in the 21st century, reflecting wider technological and social shifts.

Another 77% argued that individuals and small-to-medium-sized enterprises had an equal capacity as large corporations to excel in this discipline.

In keeping with such a trend, 73% of the business leaders questioned suggested that innovation will be fuelled as much by creativity as scientific investigations going forward.

The analysis also warned of the emergence of a "paradox", as 86% of contributors anticipated forming partnerships would be vital to innovation, but only 21% stated finding these allies was an immediate priority.

"Investing in innovation is a critical piece of global competitiveness," said Beth Comstock, CMO of GE. "Cutbacks today will have reverberations on economic and social progress for years to come, and may seriously hinder a company's ability to compete."

The top three countries perceived as having the best policy environment for innovation were Germany, the US and Japan respectively.

However, Japan also featured among the markets with the lowest levels of internal satisfaction about this area, along with Russia, Poland and France. Israel, the UAE, Sweden and Singapore topped the charts here.

The countries with higher satisfaction ratings regarding this matter posted better levels of GDP growth, at 5.2%, than those which did not, on 2.3%.

A further 92% of the sample thought strong credentials in the R&D field helped support the national economy, and 86% concurred that innovation was the best way to create jobs.

Data sourced from GE; additional content by Warc staff