GE Global Innovation Barometer Reveals Saudi Businesses Are Upbeat About Innovation & Future Technologies to Drive Local Economy

Press release
Published July 5th, 2018 - 09:42 GMT
The GE Global Innovation Barometer evaluates the innovation progress, themes, trends, challenges and how to best approach these changes globally.
The GE Global Innovation Barometer evaluates the innovation progress, themes, trends, challenges and how to best approach these changes globally.

GE today announced the Saudi Arabia-focused findings of its ‘GE Global Innovation Barometer’. The survey, conducted with innovation business executives in the Kingdom, as part of a study with around 2,100 innovation business executives in 20 key global markets, underscored the progress made by Saudi Arabia in innovation practices compared to previous years.

Reflecting on the theme of the innovation barometer, ‘Chaos to Confidence,’ results for Saudi Arabia mirrored global trends in that a greater number of Saudi business executives are more confident in the process of innovation and that its future will include emerging players and technologies. The results are upbeat in that the right sectors are leading innovation in the Kingdom. The innovation barometer also underlined the need for talent development and an increased focus on promoting Additive Manufacturing in the Kingdom.

Hisham Al Bahkali, President & CEO, GE Saudi Arabia & Bahrain, said: “The findings of the 2018 GE Global Innovation Barometer underscore the strong focus of the Saudi business community to drive innovation and R&D, with the support of universities and researchers. This directly complements the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformational Plan to strengthen localized innovation, which is central to enhancing industrial productivity and driving competitiveness. GE is committed to supporting innovation, with our energy-related R&D centers in the Eastern province working on localized solutions that will enhance the performance, reliability and efficiency of the Kingdom’s energy industry.”

The top findings of the GE Global Innovation Barometer from a Saudi perspective are:

  • In Saudi Arabia, multinationals drive 32% of innovation in the Kingdom, compared to 23% globally. Multinationals today are leading the innovation pack, with a focus on the private sector becoming a more important driver of innovation. The rising contribution of Saudi multinationals, as well as local universities and research labs, suggest that innovation in Saudi today is being led by the right sectors.
  • 38% of Saudi business executives named countries like Japan as the innovation champion this year. Developed markets such as USA and Germany witnessed a drop in the championship status from 2014, and emerging markets are gaining more confidence, viewing themselves as more innovative than they did in 2014.
  • 63% of Saudi executives believe protectionist policies benefit business within the country compared to 55% of executives globally. Saudi business executives seek to protect the core business as much as possible to support research and innovation efforts. They pointed out that the Saudi government has become more selective and is supporting the right groups to lead innovation.
  • 66% of Saudi executives see the benefits of Additive Manufacturing, compared to 63% of executives globally. In Saudi, there’s a strong belief that Additive Manufacturing is an integral part of the future of the Kingdom and there are various ongoing public and private sector initiatives that create a positive outlook on its potential to drive growth.
  • 44% of executives in the Kingdom believe innovation has a positive impact vs 40% of executives globally. Saudi Arabia sees more maturity in the process of innovation in the country, with potential areas to strengthen such as coaching innovation methodology to young entrepreneurs and others.
  • The three innovations creating the most hype in the Kingdom are industry focused: 65% IoT, 64% Artificial & Machine Intelligence and Smart Energy Grids (59%).
  • 72% of Saudi executives see that there is a skills gap within the country vs 74% globally. Innovation skills gap is an issue for all markets globally, including in Saudi Arabia. Business executives state that they are still missing the right talent potential, skillset and mindset for successful innovation outcomes.
  • 69% of Saudi executives said that the innovation environment has become more challenging vs 57% of executives globally, with the number of business executives who cite the lack of sufficient funding as an increasing challenge. Saudi Arabia was among the top countries expressing this concern.

A bi-annual survey that was first published in 2010, the GE Global Innovation Barometer evaluates the innovation progress, themes, trends, challenges and how to best approach these changes globally. It also looks at how in-country innovation executives define innovation and what their country is doing to allow innovation to flourish.

GE has over 80 years of partnership in the Kingdom with over 4,000 employees, including Baker Hughes, a GE company, with nearly 50 percent of the talent in highly skilled engineering and technology roles. GE has built an advanced industrial ecosystem that includes a growing local supply chain, with significant partnerships and investments in support of the Kingdom in its economic diversification goals, including building localized manufacturing competencies.

Background Information

General Electric

GE provides knowledge, capacity building and training to empower the region’s workforce. Thirty percent of the Middle East and North Africa’s population is between the ages of 15 and 29. In the UAE, we’re partnering with the Mubadala Development Company to build local capacity by empowering local talent through trainings at our Leadership Acceleration for Business (LAB) initiative.

With 76 nationalities working in the region, GE proudly fosters diversity in the workforce. To accelerate the advancement of women, the Women’s Network, an affinity network at GE, creates opportunities for female employees to cultivate their leadership and business skills. GE is not just watching as the region realizes its future; we’re partnering to help build it.

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