A large majority of Canadians believe that business leaders should be open to taking more intelligent risks in order to foster innovation, according to a Microsoft Canada survey conducted by Harris/Decima.
Indeed, 84 percent of Canadians believed leaders in business need to take more calculated risks for the sake of innovation—yet only 53 percent felt the company they worked for was doing so. The numbers aligned similarly for Americans surveyed.
"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."
An overwhelming 97 percent of Canadians felt that companies must embrace new technologies to remain competitive, and a remarkable 96 percent of Canadians say that technology is shaping the future of how they conduct their 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."
"What we need to do is overcome the misconception that risk automatically equates to danger," added Eric. "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," commented Dr. Benson Honig, McMaster University, DeGroote School of Business, Teresa Cascioli Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership. "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."