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Innovation key to growth say business leaders

Dubai, June 7, 2008

Innovation is the key to growth for business leaders and decision-makers in the region, a study has revealed.

The opinion was expressed by 100 per cent of hospitality businesses, 80 per cent of healthcare companies, 75 per cent of government departments and 67 per cent of transport, the survey found.

The survey was commissioned by Leaders Present, organizers of Management Innovation Forum 2008, which will be held from June 22 to 25 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai.

It reflects the opinions of over 200 business leaders and key decision-makers from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

It found that 80 per cent of hospitality and 60 per cent of healthcare companies that rank innovation as important have an innovation officer or department, and they have implemented an innovation solution or programme within the last two years.

Throughout the survey, it was evident that innovation was widely seen by hospitality and healthcare companies as an important mechanism that can add value to a company’s products or services and improve brand value.

On the contrary, training agencies (20 per cent), financial services (13 per cent), IT (10 per cent) and manufacturing companies (14 per cent) were almost equally in agreement that innovation is not as important for their growth as other factors.

“The importance of innovation as the key driver of sustained success has been well documented in the hospitality literature,” said Purva Hassomal, the conference director.

“Investing in innovation and having a skilled workforce in the hospitality sector is vital to maintain a sustainable economy, especially for the UAE and Dubai in particular which is emerging as a major tourism destination targeting 170 million visitors by 2020.”

The hospitality sector in the Gulf region is witnessing a notable growth. According to a recent study, the region is investing around Dh 110 billion ($30 billion) in more than 120 new multiple hotel projects across the Arabian Gulf and Egypt.

The study shows the UAE clearly leading the way in the region with 66 hotel projects, followed by Saudi Arabia (17), Oman (13), Qatar (10), Egypt (7) and Bahrain (7).

The hospitality industry is continuously forced to look for ways of improving quality and reputation, cutting costs, and increasing sales and profits. Adding to these challenges is fierce competition among hotels and changes in customer needs. In order to stay ahead of competition, the only approach the hospitality sector is left with is innovation.

According to leading branding company AIS BrandLab founder and chief executive Aubrey Ghose, all businesses from hospitality to banking, fashion to food stores are shifting towards Innovation.

“This is mainly because we live in a world where everything is available to everyone, all the time. Therefore, businesses are leaning on Innovation to differentiate themselves from competition, build up market share and to increase their profitability.

“However businesses here should understand that Innovation is not only about products, services and design, but it’s about changing the culture of your business and driving it forward to deliver tangible benefits to people’s lives,” Ghose added.

Over half (58 per cent) of the companies surveyed, said they encourage a culture of business innovation by allocating employee time for informal idea generation, while (53 per cent) of the respondents said that their company allocated a budget to research fledgling ideas.

The management innovation seminar is sponsored by Etisalat and AIS BrandLab. TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Survey | innovation | Key | Leaders Present | Management Innovation Forum |

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