Wanted: Canadian business leaders who innovate

Mar 31, 2011, 11:43 ET from Microsoft Canada Co.

Poll highlights need to transform 'risk' into true opportunity

To view the Social Media Release, click here: http://smr.newswire.ca/en/microsoft-canada/canadian-business-leaders-who-innovate

TORONTO, March 31 /PRNewswire/ - A large majority of Canadians and Americans believe business leaders need to be open to take more intelligent risks in order to create innovation, a Microsoft Canada survey conducted by Harris/Decima revealed today.

The survey polled senior and junior/mid-level Canadian and U.S. office workers to better understand their views about technology and innovation in the workplace.

The results were clear: 84 per cent of Canadians and 77 per cent of Americans believe business leaders need to take more risks to create innovation, while only 53 per cent of Canadians and 55% of Americans feel the company they work for is already driving innovation.

"Canadian business leaders must embrace an appetite for intelligent risk instead of shying away from it to stay within the comfort of status quo," says Eric Gales, President of Microsoft Canada. "Now is the time to create organizational cultures where risk is not a dirty four-letter word, but is encouraged as a valuable ingredient in fueling learning, creativity and inspiring innovation."

The majority of office workers in both Canada (97 per cent) and the U.S. (96 per cent) also agreed that companies must embrace new technologies in order to remain competitive. Both Canadians (96 per cent) and Americans (99 per cent) agree that technology is shaping the future of how they work.

"The business world is in the midst of an exciting period of change driven by technology," said Peter Aceto, Chief Executive Officer, ING DIRECT, commenting on the survey results. "For businesses to be successful in this environment, leaders need to promote a culture where employees at all levels not only understand their business but feel safe to experiment in it - to reach far across the divide - with no danger of the repercussions of failure."

Added Gales: "What we need to do is overcome the misconception that risk automatically equates to danger. We need to transform the idea of risk into a true opportunity - whether in business, skiing down a mountain, or in improving Canada's healthcare system. Business leaders need to empower their teams and drive forward innovation to strengthen our economy and put Canada on the map."

"Understanding the intersection of technology and innovation is critical to the future success of firms. It is particularly critical for larger organizations, that must not only embrace change and creativity, but most also "scale up" in order to survive global competition. This report is an excellent start toward understanding and infusing Canada's corporate culture with the need to innovate and accept change," commented Dr. Benson Honig, McMaster University, DeGroote School of Business, Teresa Cascioli Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The next generation of innovators

The survey also found:

  • The younger generation of corporate/business workers entering the workforce are considered to be just as innovative (Canada 47%; US 46%) or more innovative (Canada 41%; US 39%) than today's current leaders
  • The top reason for indicating the younger generation is more innovative than today's current leaders is their experience, comfort, and understanding of technology (Canada 68%; US 80%)
  • Americans are more likely than Canadians to believe the younger generation is more innovative due to their experience with technology (80% vs. 68%), while Canadians are more likely than Americans to think the younger generation is more innovative because of their ability to learn and adapt (27% vs. 15%) and their fresh approach (10% vs. 5%)

Survey: Using Harris/Decima's online panel, 504 surveys were completed among a random sample of Canadian office workers and 501 surveys were completed among a random sample of American office workers. The survey was conducted from January 5th, 2011 to January 14th, 2011.

For more information on the survey results or to schedule an interview, please contact:

/NOTE TO EDITORS: Media Assets accompanying this story are available as follows:

Photo:  http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/1191/photo-1---eric-gales.jpg

Photo : http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/1191/photo-2---group-shot.jpg

Video:http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/mmnr/smr/MSFT_DeGroote_Interview_full_res.flv

SOURCE Microsoft Canada Co.