GE Malaysia announced the results of the 2018 GE Global Innovation Barometer, titled “From Chaos to Confidence: Emerging Players, Emerging Technologies, Emerging Challenges,” the study explores how business leaders perceive the barriers to and opportunities for innovation in a complex global environment.
"This year’s Global Innovation Barometer reveals that despite facing significant and complex challenges, business leaders in Malaysia are feeling more confident when it comes to driving growth through innovation.
They are also, however, increasingly choosing to protect the core business as much as possible, this is to ensure businesses continue to generate the profitability that is needed to support research and innovation efforts,” said GE Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Mark Rozario.
In its sixth edition, the 2018 GE Global Innovation Barometer surveyed 2,090 business executives across 20 countries, in Malaysia, the study comprised 80 innovation business executives and since its inception in 2010, GE uses the study to keep a pulse on the current state of innovation across the globe.
Prominent industry leaders from various backgrounds discussed the key findings and shared their thoughts on its relevance to Malaysia’s business landscape during a panel session at the launch.
The panelists comprised of Digi Telecommunications chief executive officer, Albern Murty; Senior Ministry of Health Malaysia Planning Division deputy director, Dr. Fazilah Shaik Allaudin; New Technologies of Fusionex International managing director, Jacob Isaac; and World Bank Lead Economist for Malaysia, Dr. Richard Record.
According to World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 Report, Malaysia now sits at the 15th spot among the 190 worldwide economies based on business regulations and ease of doing business however for within the ASEAN region, Malaysia ranks second.
“It is important to look beyond the averages when it comes to Malaysia’s development. Malaysia has the opportunity to become known as a nation that is remarkable for not just achieving high rates of economic growth, but for sustainable and inclusive growth that truly benefits the country,” remarked Record.
This year’s Barometer also highlights innovation champions on the horizon as Asia and emerging markets are gaining confidence, viewing themselves as more innovative than in previous years while the U.S. and Germany drop in their innovation champion status.
“Our customers’ lifestyles are constantly changing and moving faster than ever before and as we live in a mobile-first world, mobile data and devices will continue to play a crucial role not only in communication but in everyday life.
“Companies that are able to anticipate customers’ needs, personalise services accordingly and provide a richer customer experience will continue to have a competitive edge. Innovation is key and we constantly push ourselves at Digi to innovate our core connectivity services and more for our customers,” said Albern.
Some additional highlights from the report included that Malaysia is a leading country when it comes to measuring innovation ROI with 69 per cent of business executives in Malaysia measuring the impact of innovation on business performance to get further investment and funding, they over-index against the global average of 45 per cent, whereas in Malaysia, multinational companies have an increased growth of 26 per cent for reputation as the driver of innovation across majority countries as it has increased by 4 per cent as compared to 2014.
Emerging countries such as Turkey and South Africa also have the largest rise in business executives believing multinationals are the main driver of innovation in their country. SMEs on the other hand are no longer seen as a driver of innovation, while multinationals and large enterprises are emerging as innovation drivers due to SMEs having fallen from 14 per cent in 2014, to 11 per cent in 2016 and now sit at 6 per cent in 2018.
In the meantime, the perception of Malaysia having an innovation conducive environment amongst its business executives has grown considerably over the past four years and as of 2018’s result, 35 per cent of Malaysia’s business executives state that their country has an innovation conducive environment as compared to 2014, where it was only 7 per cent, and in general, Asian markets have seen the biggest increase in the way they evaluate how innovation conducive their country is.
The study shows that Malaysian business executives’ attitude towards 3D printing is aligned with global results as 53 per cent of business executives in Malaysia believe 3D printing’s impact will be mostly positive for businesses in their country versus 63 per cent globally and 50 per cent of business executives in Malaysia state that 3D printing has yet to realise its full potential vs 53 per cent globally.
A key issue that Malaysian business executives are facing is skills gap and it sits at 88 per cent in Malaysia compared to the global average of 74 per cent as on top of this, a lack of talent and inadequate skill-set is seen as a key challenge, restricting businesses’ ability to innovate efficiently having risen from 71 per cent in 2014 to 85 per cent in 2018.
Generally, Malaysia over-indexes against majority of innovative challenges, suggesting business executives in this market are feeling confronted with substantial issues as the incapacity to scale up which is seen as the greatest challenge (88 per cent), lack of talent (85 per cent) and defining an effective business model to support new ideas and make them profitable (83 per cent) are the top three key challenges restricting business’s ability to innovate efficiently.
This trend is found across the markets in the study.