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Innovation a top priority for business

by PwC July 30, 2013

CEOs in CEE put less emphasis on innovation than their peers in other regions

 Chief executives around the world are ramping up their efforts to innovate and find new ways to do business, in a move to stimulate growth in a challenging global business environment. However, the results of the survey indicate that the CEOs in Central and Eastern Europe put less emphasis on innovation than their peers in other regions.

A PwC Pulse Survey of 246 CEOs in North and South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East reveals that 97% of CEOs see innovation as a top priority for their business. The Pulse Survey was conducted as a follow-up to the recent PwC CEO Survey of 1,330 CEOs around the globe which showed innovation to be a major and lingering CEO concern.

Not every region sees the need for innovation in the same light. The appetite for innovation was strongest in Asia-Pacific and North America, where CEOs unanimously agreed that innovation is a key focus area within their organisation. In contrast, 18% of CEOs in Central and Eastern Europe and 10% of their peers in the Middle East disagreed, reporting that innovation is not a priority in the markets in which they operate.

There has been an important shift in the relative focus on operations and innovation. Globally, almost two in three CEOs see innovation and operational effectiveness as equally important to the success of their company. Business leaders in Latin America agree with this the most (71%), in contrast to their peers in the Middle East who are more divided (50%).

The research also shows that there has been a shift in how CEOs view their role in driving innovation. Today’s CEOs recognise that they need to be directly involved in driving innovation within their business, with 37% reporting their role as ‘leader’ in this area, and 34% as ‘visionary’. This contrasts sharply with the situation three years ago when a similar survey showed only 12% of CEOs were leading the charge on the innovation strategy.

“The fact that top-notch innovation has now become as important as operational excellence represents a step change from our survey in 2009 . Back then, sharpening operational effectiveness was the overriding objective as companies sought to survive the sudden loss of revenue caused by the financial crisis. Therefore, we could say that we are through the critical phase of the crisis, and the CEOs are well aware that, in the new business environment, innovation is the best way to generate revenue growth and long term success of their organizations”, stated Vasile Iuga, Country Managing Partner, PwC Romania.

And their innovation plans are broad. Over the next three years, CEOs are planning to innovate across the board, from customer experience, products and services, through to business models, systems and approaches.

1. The results are based on interviews with 246 CEOs in 60 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.
2. The full report can be found at http:// www.pwc.com/innovationsurvey

About PwC

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© 2013 PwC. All rights reserved.

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