A new cycle of innovation in the middle east

Innovation viewpoints from participating senior executives from 167 companies from 12 countries in the Middle East

The PwC Middle East 2012 Innovation Survey goes to the heart of how companies think about innovation in the Middle East. It is the latest in a regular series of reports by PwC on innovation, strategy, profitability, industry trends, deals transactions, CEO perspectives, and other themes globally and in the region.

Our 2010 survey reported a shift from ‘buying’ to ‘doing’ innovation, and a desire to develop greater ‘in house’ innovation capabilities. This year our respondents’ emphasis is on growth, partly shaped by the evolving capabilities, and partly by a broader economic resurgence. Companies in the region have significant growth ambitions and expect  innovation to play an important role in supporting these plans. We look at how a combination of macro-economic conditions and a ‘new cycle’ of change mean that growth will become even more innovation-dependent, which may mean an emphasis on more breakthrough innovations rather than incremental only; further mergers and acquisitions are also expected to play an important role in several industries.

However, we find that companies face several challenges in delivering on their innovation ambitions. Aside from our survey data, we also conducted discussions with Middle East companies on what they themselves feel is holding them back. What are the ingredients of innovation success? And what can companies learn from their counterparts who are already successful?

We look in particular at how companies can use strategy, customer focus, investment, collaboration, culture and metrics to sharpen their innovation focus and drive growth. We conclude with a round-up of the steps that both companies and governments in the region can take to encourage and enhance innovation.