10 UAE business trends revealed by the GE 2016 Innovation Barometer

General Electric studied innovation officers from 100 medium-sized firms to reveal new insights for UAE start-up scene

The UAE results of the Global Innovation Barometer are in. The report carried out annually by the digital industrial company General Electric is used by business leaders as a litmus test for how innovation is progressing in their industry.  

The most recent installment of the report studied innovation officers from 100 medium-sized firms in the UAE across several sectors, including manufacturing, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and telecoms.

The report clearly indicates that UAE businesses are highly focused on developing an innovative culture and embrace the challenges of the changing digital future.

Rania Rostom, GE’s chief innovation officer for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said the role of entrepreneurs and start-ups in driving innovation in the UAE has increased fourfold.

“The UAE Innovation Barometer findings showcase the success of the UAE government’s National Innovation Strategy, which is focused on accelerating innovation to become one of the world’s leading knowledge economies. There is a strong readiness amongst leading business executives in organizations across the country to invest and collaborate on innovation initiatives.”

Here are the key findings in numbers:

Digital evolution

85% Believe in ‘Digital Darwinism’ – that new technology will erode traditional business if they don’t adapt and embrace technology


3D printing leads the way

87% Think that advanced manufacturing such as 3D printing will radically transform the industrial sector


Breaking down barriers

75% Think privacy and data protection regulations prevent businesses from launching or driving innovations


Making companies culpable

52% Believes the private sector has a duty to assess technology’s impact on their workforce


Learning new data skills

82% UAE companies that have the resource to analyse large data sets. This number has increased from 50 per cent in 2014


Being digital ready

58% Understand the strategic value of data and analytics. This number has increased from 47 per cent in 2014. And is 11 per cent higher than the global average


Collaboration driving growth

85% Say that revenue and profit through collaborative innovation initiatives has grown in the past year


Clear vision

77% Say their company has a clear innovation strategy


Finding new markets

87% Say the most innovative companies not only launch new products but create a new market


Schools preparing innovative employees

74% Believe that the UAE education system is ready to teach and supply students with highly sought after digital skills such as problem solving, analytical skills and creativity