There has never been a more critical time for businesses to accelerate the adoption of innovation. Today, to digital disruption, we must add climate change, conflict, trade volatility, and now, unexpectedly, contagion. The global COVID-19 pandemic, which has defined the past year, has impacted the current and future trajectory of businesses, consumer patterns, and the overall trajectory of economies worldwide.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic underscore how important it is for businesses to be both agile and resilient to respond effectively to rapid and unexpected change. Companies with a strategy for innovating across the business types within their portfolio—i.e., across core, new and emerging business—will have greater success in weathering the storm.
The Innovation Maturity Index measures the maturity of companies’ innovation capabilities and helps identify winning approaches that companies can use to close gaps, beat and potentially go on to lead disruption.
In line with previous iterations, we surveyed C-level executives from 200 large companies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates between August and October 2020 to understand the extent of innovation maturity currently.
“The pandemic triggered new ways of working and doing business,” said Xavier Anglada, Accenture’s Strategy and Consulting, and Innovation lead in the Middle East. “However, only a handful of regional companies have put in place structural actions which could help them become agile and flexible in their workforce. Companies must intensify their innovation and make greater strides in their business transformation.”
Anglada added: “This year, we found that 14% of companies that have embedded the innovation framework within their firms were able to deepen their innovation investments intensity through adhering to actions that govern their innovation efforts - we refer to them as ‘Innovation Champions. Over the last five years, extensive governance earned Champions 27 percent higher profitability than their peers—in the next five, Champions can expect that rate to more than double to 58 percent and experience even higher employee productivity by continuing to practice meticulous innovation governance.”
The marginal decline in Innovation Architecture scores and the seven-point drop in Innovation Culture scores reflect the dichotomy in the region between new ways of working enabled by technology and traditional ways of doing business, which often requires a physical presence.
The rapid implementation of country-wide lockdowns forced workers to set up home offices and highlighted that companies in the region lag in equipping their employees to work flexibly in this new environment. While many companies worked to recalibrate their businesses quickly, most still need to adopt new ways of working as we continue to navigate the pandemic.