Up front magazine

PwC Up front | Issue 5 | Harnessing technology

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Up front Summer 2014 1 Up front Summer 2014 Harnessing technology In my conversations with management and board members over the past year, it's clear that innovation and technology are at the very top of the agenda for Canada's business leaders. Our recent Global CEO Survey revealed that most CEOs see innovation as a key enabler for growth. Mastering innovation as an enterprise discipline is tough. The survey results show a glaring gap between aspiration and action with 47 per cent of CEOs viewing the speed of technological change as a potential threat. In contrast, many of those CEOs who are achieving sustained growth have successfully harnessed these same technological changes to spur innovation. Two other recent PwC surveys support these findings. Our Global Innovation Survey and our Digital IQ Survey indicate that one third of Canadian respondents find it very challenging to build an innovation culture. We're lagging the U.S. where nearly 20 per cent more respondents have support models in place to drive and sustain innovation. Furthermore, when it comes to reaching new customers, only two per cent of respondents look to outside sources for innovation. The conversations and research in these studies provide ample evidence that mastering innovation is an opportunity and key driver for growth. However, many organizations in Canada are grappling with how to do just that. I recently sat down with The Globe and Mail for an interview on the topic of innovation. One of the barriers many Canadian leaders tell me they've found in activating innovation as a growth engine is our "Canadian-ness". My 30-plus years working in Canada and internationally has taught me that one of the things we struggle with as a Canadian business community is that we're not big risk-takers compared to other countries around the world. Getting comfortable with risk and failure isn't an easy thing, especially in results-driven organizations. To mitigate risk, but still reap the benefits of innovation, we advise our clients to implement innovation as a business discipline – tied to goals and strategy. In our experience, the clients that do this mature twice as fast as their competition. We believe that innovation can be learned and mastered. To learn more about our Innovation Blueprint, you can visit: pwc.com/ca/innovation. Bill McFarland CEO and Senior Partner, PwC Canada Leader's message | Bill McFarland In this edition of Up front, you'll read how some leading Canadian organizations are taking a disciplined approach to unlocking the value that innovation brings. In many cases, this has been supported by technology, but in others, it is because the organization has engaged its employees and customers to challenge the norm, look at challenges from a new perspective, and take some acceptable risks to position itself to grow in the long-term. I hope you find the articles in this magazine as enjoyable and as informative as I did. I thank the participants for sharing their insights and best practices. Please visit us online at upfront.pwc.com to receive ongoing insights from Canadian business leaders.

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