The GE Global Barometer identifies drivers and deterrents of innovation and analyses perceptions around innovation.
About 3,100 business executives were interviewed by phone for the GE Global Innovation Barometer in 25 countries.
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The General Electric Global Innovation scorecard ranks 50 countries on certain factors impacting the level of innovation within each country.
“The survey indicated that South Africa is in a good position and clearly the trend is upward,” Tim Schweikert, GE’s President and CEO South Africa told CNBC Africa.
“Some of the interesting things that came out of the survey in terms of differentiating how business leaders view innovation here in South Africa include creativity as part of the workplace and that innovation takes place in small to medium enterprises,” he added.
Schweikert says the environment has the characteristic of business leaders who are open to innovation.
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The report says innovation and risk taking in the workplace is very important together with collaboration externally with other large entities.
According to the report, executives believe that efficient and successful innovation hinges on understanding customers and anticipating market evolutions, attracting and retaining the most talented and skilled employees and quickly adopting emerging technologies.
One of the interviewed business leader said government could be a trusted and valued partner in the innovation process adding that the issue was in understanding the ecosystem.
Skills training and retention was also ranked among top requirement that business leaders looked for.
“Talent is a bigger priority this year [with] 79 per cent of global executives saying it is a crucial asset for successful innovation [which is] six points higher than last year.”