GE survey reveals importance of innovation



DAMMAM: SAEED AL-ASMARI

Published — Tuesday 5 February 2013

Last update 5 February 2013 1:59 am

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General Electric yesterday announced the findings of its third annual global innovation barometer survey. Saudi Arabia was one of the two countries in the region where the survey was conducted.
It reveals that Saudi businesses regard innovation as a strategic priority to help drive business growth with 81 percent of respondents calling for localized innovation to serve specific market needs. Nearly 3,000 executives from 25 countries were surveyed.
Sharing the key findings of the survey with journalists at the Saudi GE Innovation Center at Dhahran Techno Valley yesterday, Hisham Bahkali, GE’s president and chief executive officer for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, said: “The GE Global Innovation Barometer surveys, in the past two years, highlighted the increasing focus that businesses in the Kingdom place on innovation. However, what is particularly striking this year is their heightened emphasis on localized innovation to meet country-specific requirements, and the importance they place on partnerships. This is in line with GE’s development approach in the Kingdom, led by our commitment to the Saudi Vision 2020, to focus on building our long-term partnerships, driving local research and development projects, promoting human capital development and accelerating technology transfer.”
Beth Comstock, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of GE, said innovators must be resilient or risk being left behind. “Change has become constant and we see leaders responding by betting big on more unconventional approaches to innovation to unlock growth,” said Comstock. “An overwhelming 87 percent of Saudi respondents said they would be more successful at innovation through partnerships than by going about it alone or in line with global average."
“The result underlines a growing culture of innovation in the Kingdom, with a special focus on localizing products and services to meet market needs,” said Bahkali. “Saudi businesses are open to investing in customer research and talented people, fostering partnerships and developing new technology to strengthen a culture of innovation.”
Regarding innovation as driver for growth, in line with global business executive outlook, 80 percent of the Saudi respondents said understanding customer and anticipating market evolutions is the most important factor to innovate successfully.

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