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Millennial Survey: Innovation is Essential for Business Growth

"The main obstacles to innovation include the lack of funding or investment, a different corporate culture and the lack of interest from company management,"

- Marek Romancov,
Partner in the Tax function of Deloitte

Davos/Prague, 30 January 2013 – According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 78 percent of the world's future business leaders believe innovation is essential for business growth. However, as the economic crisis enters its sixth year, only one-quarter (26 percent) of Millennials feel that current business leaders are doing enough to encourage practices that foster innovation. The main obstacle that prevents companies from being innovative is the lack of funding or investment.

Deloitte surveyed close to 5,000 Millennials from 18 countries, including European countries. When gauging the perception among future leaders about innovation and its impact on society, 84 percent say business innovations have a positive impact on society, and 65 percent feel their own company's activities benefit society in some way.

"The business community is generally regarded as playing a lead role in developing innovations that will benefit society. Almost half of the respondents (45 percent) believe business drives the innovations that most positively impact society; 18 percent think that the most beneficial innovations are developed by government and 17 percent believe that academic bodies develop the most useful innovations," said Marek Romancov, Partner in the Tax function of Deloitte. "The main obstacles to innovation include the lack of funding or investment, a different corporate culture and the lack of interest from company management," he added.

"Innovation at the institutional level is needed to sufficiently shift an organisation's mindset to allow new ideas to truly emerge and thrive," said Deloitte Global CEO Barry Salzberg. "While our current business leaders can debate how and where to innovate, it's clear how much importance our future leaders place on innovation—not just as a driver of business growth but also as a catalyst for solving society's most pressing problems."

Talent as a catalyst for innovation

Innovation is also an important component of talent recruitment and retention. Two-thirds of the Millennials surveyed say innovation is a key factor in making an organisation an employer of choice. This is particularly relevant to companies attracting the ever-growing number of Millennials, who are forecast to make up 75 percent of the world's workforce by 2025. 1

However, discrepancies were found when Millennials were asked about the requirements for innovation:

  • 39 percent of respondents believe that encouragement and rewards for idea generation and creativity is a requirement for innovation to occur, whereas only 20 percent say their current organisation operates in this way.
  • 34 percent say providing employees with free time to dedicate to learning and creativity is key to an innovative environment, versus 17 percent who describe their workplace that way.
  • 32 percent consider openness and the freedom to challenge as key to innovation, versus 17 percent who say this is visible in their organisations.
  • 42 percent believe in the importance of encouraging innovative thinking at all levels of the organisation, versus 26 percent who describe their places of employment that way.

"A generational shift is taking place in business as baby boomers, many of whom may have been wedded to the 'old way' of doing business, begin to step down from their leadership roles to retire," said Salzberg. "Real opportunity exists for organisations to step up and create the conditions and commitment needed to encourage and foster innovation in their work environments. There's a tremendous upside if we get this right: we can better retain talent, remain more competitive in the future, and more positively impact society."

Views on innovation vary by geography and industry

  • Respondents in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) consider themselves and their companies to be innovative, while respondents from Japan place their companies at the bottom in nearly every aspect of innovation. For example, 70 percent of respondents within the BRIC countries rate their employers as innovative, while only 25 percent of respondents in Japan did so.
  • Six in ten (62 percent) would describe themselves as innovative, ranging from India (81 percent), Thailand (79 percent), South Africa (78 percent), and Brazil (77 percent) to Japan (24 percent).
  • 65 percent of respondents feel their company's activities benefit society, led by Brazil (83 percent), India (74 percent), and Germany (73 percent). Only 46 percent answered affirmatively in South Korea.
  • The sectors considered to be responsible for the most innovations are: technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) (52 percent); consumer goods/services (47 percent) and manufacturing (37 percent).
  • The sectors considered to be most in need of innovations are: education (27 percent); electric power (18 percent), and national government (17 percent).

For more information, including the survey results, please visit




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© 2013 Deloitte Czech Republic


Lukáš Kropík
Deloitte Czech Republic
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