Photo - Stuart L. Dean, Chief Executive Officer, ASEAN GE Global Growth & Operations.
According to GE's 2014 Global Innovation Barometer, 84 percent of Malaysian senior business executives are opting for a 'disruption-ready' strategy of trends, policies and procedures to stay ahead of the global innovation race.
Stuart L. Dean, chief executive officer, ASEAN GE Global Growth & Operations, said the results is aligned with the leaders' recognition of the value of collaboration with a majority indicating that the revenue generated by collaborative innovation activities within their organisations has been growing over the past year.
"The most innovative solutions today come from collaborative partnerships with local players to address the country's needs," said Dean. "With more players crowding the space, Malaysian executives are striving to differentiate their businesses in order to stand out from the rest and are recognising the importance of collaborating with innovative multi-national companies such as GE. Innovation is increasingly becoming a global game and it is critical for leaders to embrace new business models and technologies necessary to innovate today."
He said innovation was a major thrust involving all levels of Malaysian society in the nation's Development plan to travel up the value chain. "We want to instill this same practice amongst businesses here as we strive to support the country's goals of building an innovation ecosystem to spur Malaysia towards a high-income status."
Dean said the fourth annual study indicated a shift from 2013 results, which had seen "high levels of anxiety among executives. This 'innovation vertigo' last year led to uncertainties in moving forward for local businesses."
The 2014 study showed that Malaysia's business leaders were still some distance away from developing and implementing the perfect innovation model "however, many have begun identifying disruption drivers to prepare for and adapt to unexpected market changes whilst demonstrating momentum to innovate successfully."
Transformation journey to 2020
As Malaysia continues on its transformation journey towards becoming a developed nation by 2020, there was a need to boost innovation by enriching local startups and putting businesses on the global stage where they will be able to compete in an increasingly competitive landscape, said Dean.
He said respondents in this year's Barometer showed that understanding customers and anticipating market evolutions; attracting and retaining the most talented and skilled employees; and swift adoption of emerging technologies are the key factors to embrace innovation and stay ahead of competition.
"There is an increasing need to move towards more collaborative possibilities between large and small organizations as 32 percent feel that smaller businesses (i.e. SMES and start-ups) are the ones driving innovation in Malaysia," he said.
In addition, local business leaders talked of being limited in their ability to innovate by the problems of identifying adequate skillsets as well as the difficulty of retaining the most talented staff. "More than 60 percent of executives interviewed recognise the need for companies to encourage creative behaviours and disruptive process within the organisation."
"Business leaders in Malaysia recognise that governments play an important role in developing environments that are conducive to innovation and are in line with other executives around the world in calling for government and public authorities to allocate an adequate share of support for innovative companies," said Dean. "Malaysian executives are looking to the government to implement robust intellectual property (IP) protections and ensure public procurement and incentives favour the most innovative solutions, even if they come from companies based outside their own country.
As more and more executives put innovation at the forefront of their businesses, Malaysia will soon be seen as a transformative hub that values disruptive and sustainable business models to stay ahead in the global innovation race, he added.
Commissioned by GE and conducted by Edelman Berland between April 2, 2014 and May 30, 2014, this study is based on telephone interviews with 3,200 senior business executives across 26 countries. All respondents are VP level or above and directly involved in their company's innovation processes. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed are at the C-suite level. The countries included in the research are: Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, UAE, UK and USA.
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