Innovation — it's more than a buzzword. It's the reason some companies create jobs.
Despite economic caution signs the world over, the majority of entrepreneurs — the world's true business innovators — tell us they expect to increase their global workforce in 2013.
So how do they intend to buck trends and market forecasts to create jobs, while the more established companies standby and watch? Innovation.
Our new report, Global job creation: A survey of the world's most dynamic entrepreneurs, explains how innovation is propelling entrepreneurial companies to expand, even in a static economic climate.
Innovation drives job creation
Sure, it's unrealistic to see 2013 as a walk in the park. But treps understand that opportunity can be found in adversity and economic drift. And over and over, they emphasize innovation, saying it is powerful, dynamic and the genuine differentiator that sets their companies apart, driving certainty in hiring plans for 2013.
In successful companies, new ideas aren't limited to luck or the actions of a solitary genius. After all, treps view innovation as the source of their competitive advantage — and success depends on institutionalizing that advantage as part of their company culture. A large percentage of those surveyed said that innovation in their companies is a process that is disciplined, contained and focused.
Innovation is increasingly becoming an open system that employees must live, contribute to and be judged by. It permeates all levels of the organization. An earlier generation of treps may have competed on price – but today's breed tells us the name of the game is product and service innovation – especially for manufacturers.
Passion is primal
Almost half (43%) of the treps we surveyed say that a passion for their product or service was the driving force behind their market entry. Interestingly, the love was highest in the IT and technology space — perhaps because of the excitement of knowing that the next big thing might be just around the corner.
When making hiring decisions, treps tell us that knowledge and skills count now more than ever (57%). This will, of course, have major repercussions in the crises around youth unemployment, or the gap between the available talent pool and the skills employers need. We also learn that while technical expertise is expected, what counts today is transforming knowledge into action so that industries stay well ahead of the pace of market change. This seems especially true in the manufacturing sector, whose respondents say they are out to improve an existing product or service.
What's next from treps?
Here's what we can expect next from this global community of high achievers:
- More confidence: Despite caution signs everywhere we look, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the economic prospects in the markets they know best. Forty-six percent indicate they are confident in the economic direction of their headquarter country.
- More good-paying jobs: More than half anticipate adding to their global workforce in 2013. Given that our top three respondent classes of entrepreneurs come from the key global growth industries of IT, consumer/industrial manufacturing and health care/pharma/biotech, this bodes well for better-paying jobs and thus continued improvement in the standard of living.
- More innovation: Innovation is the single greatest driver of job creation. Seventy-four percent of those entrepreneurs who noted innovation as a genuine differentiator said they had added jobs in 2012.