Bureaucracy and little support offered: how top managers view innovation

Here is the outcomes of GE Global Innovation Barometer: big data got left behind and little autonomy to creative teams. Access to credit and business secrets protection are the other problem areas underlined by Italian business executive

SOURCE: WIRED.IT – Simone Cosimi, november 12, 2014

The Barometer is an international opinion survey of senior business executives. The objectives of the survey are the opinions of the top managers about the innovation level of our Country, the prospects and obstacles.

It is the Global innovation barometer of General Electric an international survey provided by research society Edelmar Barland and aim at studying how the perception of innovation level is changing at the upper management.

The survey – conducted among managers (31% are Ceo, Coo etc) is focused on three areas: ideal innovation process, public policy and the trend.

The outcomes are contradictories. Only 50%, think that people live better than ten years ago thanks to innovation. It is really under the average of other countries (80%). Anyway, 90% agrees that innovation is essential to reach international success. In this case Italian managers are more than the global average (82%).

Managers who believe that high collaboration level is necessary are more than in the average (87 and 77%). In other words, they believe that innovation comes from team work. But, here we find another contradiction: only 46% believe that team work gave back economical result during the last year. As if to say: we hope in it but the system is too slow.

Most of the interviewees thinks that Small and Medium Enterprise and startup lead innovation dynamics: 60% while the average is 41%. This fact is intrinsic to our economy, although other studies do not confirm it, especially with regard to SMe. Multinational Corporation are far at 15%: our managers do not perceive it as an innovation vector.


Which are firms’ priorities? Understand customer’s needs and trends, and move up is of great importance for 92% of the top managers. More than in the average that is 84%. The second point is to attract and keep high qualified persons (83%). The positive opinion on both points is under 30%.

With regard to the most specific incentive to innovation, senior business executive indicates as critical question: scarce investments and financial support (41%), problem to find and launch very revolutionary ideas and inability to scale-up. Finally, internal inertia. These innovation killer are at 32%.

66% believes that top managers should support creative attitudes, in order to generate innovative ideas. 76% believe it necessary to finance research and innovation but at the same time protect their own core business. However, these revolutionary ideas – 65% of interviewees – come from planning and structured plans. Only 35% believes in instinctive intuition and creativity.

74% of interviewed managers – showing scarce predisposition to give autonomy to some business departments – think that research team should be allocated inside other already existent business departments. Only 26% believes in total independence. This rate is lower than in other countries.


With regard to innovative tools Italian appreciate more than other countries prognostic analysis (61% vs 53%). Other point are late: 32% of the participants never heard about big data. 4% thinks it a just a trend of the moment but that cannot be applied to economy.

30% think that his company is ready to take the maximum advantages of big data’s potentialities. 25% says that his company didn’t anything in order to analyze big data and won’t do it in the future.

In Italy 37% of the top managers interviewed never heard about industrial internet, the integrated system of machines, sensors, productive software used as IOT platform, machine learning and big data.

Anyway, top managers from other countries think that Italian innovation frame is positive: 41% think that Italy develops a context that support innovation, while among Italian top managers only 27% has a positive opinion about the innovative framework.


Which are the critical areas? Only 9% of Italian executive believe that governmental support to innovation is sufficient, while international average is 40%. The biggest obstacles are: bureaucracy, access to credit, subsidies to innovation and business secrets protection: 89% believes that these elements are necessary to drive innovation in Italy. Only 9% thinks that administration helps in the right way high innovative firms and 92% believes that support to small and middle enterprises is insufficient. In other countries is 61%.

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