Seneffe, Belgium — A cross-section of managers and professionals in
European and Asian manufacturing companies report very different perceptions
about the most significant challenges for their businesses. Thirty-two percent
of respondents in Europe felt innovation is by far the biggest challenge facing
their businesses, compared to 10 percent of their peers who provided this
response in Asia and the Americas.
In contrast, 36 percent of Asian executives reported their
biggest challenge is lower-cost competitors, compared to 29 percent in the
Americas and 29 percent in Europe respectively who identified lower-cost
competitors as their most significant challenge.
These were key findings of an innovation-focused international
survey whose results were released today. The global study, conducted by
Harris Interactive, Inc., on behalf of Dow Corning Corp., involved a telephone
survey of executives from manufacturing companies in a wide range of
industries. The industries included electronics, construction, beauty and
personal care, automotive, textiles, rubber, plastics, paper, and health care.
Harris Interactive, based in Rochester, New York, is widely known for
The Harris Poll®.
“The European results mirror feedback from the European
Commission based on its Innovation Scorecard findings,” noted Gregg Zank, Chief
Technology Officer & Executive Director of Science and Technology.
“European Commission officials have reported they believe that innovation is
critical to boosting growth rates and productivity in the region.
Respondents’ were asked who they feel is primarily responsible
for innovation in their companies. More than a third of respondents
(37 percent) named “all employees” as their number one choice. They are
counting on all employees, not just the head of science and technology, to
advance innovation in their companies. This response was even stronger in Asia
where 43 percent named “all employees” as their number one pick as compared to
34 percent in Europe and 33 percent in the Americas.
Twenty-three percent of global respondents felt that innovation
is the responsibility of the chief technology officer in their companies.
Twenty-one percent of Asian respondents and 31 percent of European respondents
named the CTO as being responsible for innovation.
These results show a trend toward more employees being aware of
their shared role for innovation success.
When identifying factors that make suppliers successful
innovators, respondents cited the top-ranked factor was having an “intimate
understanding of what customers want and need.” The global response scored 8.9
out of a possible 10 score (where 10 = extremely important and 0 = not at all
important). European respondents rated this factor even higher – at
9.1. The second highest global response was “employees are creative”
which scored 8.6, and third was “apply the latest developments in science and
technology” at 8.5.
The research results also show a trend away from the
traditional ‘inside-out’ approach to innovation in which companies create a new
product or service and then look for ways to market them.
“An increasing number of companies are updating their approach
by turning to an ‘outside-in’ perspective,“ explained Scott Fuson, vice
president and chief marketing officer of Dow Corning. They are now monitoring
the external environment, market needs and customer expectations before
creating products, services and solutions to address those needs,” Fuson
Click Here for more information about the research methodology and
Dow Corning (www.dowcorning.com) provides
performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000
customers worldwide. A global leader in silicon-based technology and
innovation, offering more than 7,000 products and services, Dow Corning is
equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and
Corning Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning’s sales are
outside the United States.
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