||4/30/2012 10:36:50 AM|
How Innovative is Your Company?
a POLLARA Strategic Insights News bulletin
[To download a copy of "How
Innovative is Your Company?" with charts and Figures included: go to
How Innovative is Your
A Nation of Followers
a recent survey of 911 Canadian employees across the country, respondents were
asked to describe how innovative they think their company is. A surprising 34%
of workers indicated that they consider the company they work for to be truly innovative.
This is disconcerting given evidence which demonstrates that Canada is not
considered a worldwide leader when it comes to innovation - in fact, quite the
According to a report by the Science,
Technology and Innovation Council released in mid 2011, Canada’s innovation
performance actually slipped on most key measures in the two years since the
council's previous report released in 2008. Findings showed that Canada`s
ranking worsened or stagnated in 18 of 24 benchmarks. The report concluded that
Canada is considered a mid-level player in the global innovation race, passed
by China and South Korea in some categories, while falling behind in others.
Further evidence that Canada is slipping was shown in a 2010 TD Economics special report which noted
that the productivity gap between Canada and the U.S. has grown progressively
wider over the past 30 years and accelerated in recent years. The report
indicated that between 2000 and 2009, U.S. productivity continued to grow at
2.7 per cent while Canada crawled along at just 0.7 per cent. This report suggests that Canadian firms are failing to
innovate and that they must find better ways to employ their existing
resources. Yet despite these indications, only 16% of
workers in our survey believe that their companies are laggards.
what is most telling is the fact that close to half (42%) of respondents feel
that the organizations they work for are content to stay the course and follow
the pack. Evidently, that does not seem to be enough if Canada is to become a
truly innovative global player.
Workers Blame Management for Lackluster Performance
Top Inhibitors to Growth
in our survey were asked to tell us what they thought the main inhibitors to
growth were in their companies. Close to one third (31%) indicated that they
believe management issues or deficiencies are at fault. Not surprisingly, a
majority of these same respondents (61%) also believe that their companies are
laggards, giving some indication that management-related issues are perceived
to be at the source of a lack of innovation within these firms. The second
greatest inhibitor to growth for close to one quarter of Canadians surveyed
(23%) is their company`s resistance to change and refusal to let go of the
status quo. Half of these same respondents (53%) believe that legacy and
inefficient processes are a leading drag on growth in their companies.
findings indicate that Canadian employees may be ready to move in other
directions rather than to stay the course, but perceive senior management as unwilling or unable to steer them towards
new profitable solutions. It is interesting to note that in this survey, it is
the workers themselves who are expressing a desire for progress and change,
even though change itself engenders a certain amount of risk and uncertainty.
Perhaps this points to a larger, more general malaise which is plaguing many
Canadians during this economic slowdown and time of restraint. Despite our
seemingly privileged global economic position, workers in Canada may welcome change
if it means moving forward in a positive manner .
Need to Reinvest in Resources
Based on our survey, a lack of
capital resources was the third leading inhibitor to growth overall, with 20%
of respondents indicating that this is preventing their company from embarking
on a growth trajectory. This was closely followed by a lack of skilled
Wish List: Improve Technology to Accelerate Growth
Employees choose Technology as an Area to Invest In
were given a limited budget to make changes in specific areas of your company
to accelerate growth, where would you spend it? An impressive 72% of employees
we surveyed said they would spend it on technology. Software
and hardware overhauls were top of the wish list for this group, with close to
half (45%) saying they would invest in apps and 44% on hardware. Only 17%
indicated a desire to invest in cloud technology at this time.
Beef up Marketing
leading area of investment was marketing, with 65% of overall respondents
indicating this is where they'd invest the company's money. Over one third of
this group (37%) felt that spending on events, communications and PR was where