India’s next gen business leaders most ‘innovative’

Deloitte survey reveals Indians optimistic about benefiting society.

Bureau Report

If the top corporate honchos of India are some of the most confident globally about the fortunes of their own country this year when the economic travails continues to cast gloom, then the next generation of India’s business leaders are no less optimistic, reveals the results of the Deloitte Millennial survey, released here in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum.

According to the survey, 81 per cent of next gen Indian business leaders surveyed slotted themselves as innovative, bound to bring more efficiency and creativity to company operations, while 74 per cent have altruistic ambitions, saying they feel their company’s activities benefit society.

The research findings are based on a study conducted by Millward Brown. A total of 4,982 interviews were conducted online between 19 November and 19 December 2012. Approximately 300 interviews were conducted in each of 16 markets: USA, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, the Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, South Korea, India, Australia, Japan, China, Southeast Asia (Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia). Screening questions at the recruitment stage ensured that all respondents were Millennials – born January 1982 onwards, were degree educated, and were currently in full-time employment.

The survey makes it clear that most consider talent as a catalyst for innovation. Innovation is also an important component of talent recruitment and retention. Two-thirds of the Millennials – identified as those born surveyed say innovation is a key factor in making an organization an employer of choice. This is particularly relevant to many companies, attracting the ever-growing number of Millennials, who are forecasted to make up 75 percent of the world’s workforce by 2025.[1]

However, discrepancies were found when Millennials were asked about the requirements for innovation: 39 percent of respondents believe that encouragement and rewards for idea generation and creativity is a requirement for innovation to occur, whereas only 20 percent say their current organization operates in this way. Thirty four percent say providing employees with free time to dedicate to learning and creativity is key to an innovative environment, versus 17 percent who characterize their workplace that way; 32 percent consider openness and the freedom to challenge as key to innovation, versus 17 percent who say this is visible in their organizations; and 42 percent believe in the importance of encouraging innovative thinking at all levels of the organization, versus 26 percent who describe their places of employment that way.

“Innovation at the institutional level is needed to sufficiently shift an organization’s mindset to allow new ideas to truly emerge and thrive,” said Deloitte Global CEO Barry Salzberg.

“A generational shift is taking place in business as baby boomers, many of whom may have been wedded to the ‘old way’ of doing business, begin to step down from their leadership roles to retire,” said Salzberg. “Real opportunity exists for organizations to step up and create the conditions and commitment needed to encourage and foster innovation in their work environments. And there’s a tremendous upside if we get this right: we can better retain talent, remain more competitive into the future, and more positively impact society.”

According to the survey, respondents in the BRIC countries consider themselves and their companies to be innovative, while respondents from Japan place their companies at the bottom in nearly every aspect of innovation. For example, 70 percent of respondents within the BRIC countries rate their employers as innovative, while only 25 percent of respondents in Japan did so.

The survey also found that six in ten (62 percent) would describe themselves as innovative, ranging from India (81 percent), Thailand (79 percent), South Africa (78 percent), and Brazil (77 percent) to Japan (24 percent). Sixty five percent of respondents feel their company’s activities benefit society, led by Brazil (83 percent), India (74 percent), and Germany (73 percent). Only 46 percent answered affirmatively in South Korea.

The sectors considered to be responsible for the most innovations are: technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) (52 percent); consumer goods/services (47 percent) and manufacturing (37 percent). The sectors considered to be most in need of innovations are: education (27 percent); electric power (18 percent), and national government (17 percent).

The business community is regarded as playing a lead role in developing innovations that will benefit society. Almost half of the respondents (45 percent) believe business drives the innovations that most positively impact society, compared to government (18 percent) and academic bodies (17 percent).

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