The study was conducted in two phases in the Asia Pacific region – December 2019 to January 2020 (pre-COVID) and July 2020. In India, 439 business leaders and 438 workers were surveyed.
The report said 77 per cent of businesses in India consider that “innovation is now a ‘must’ for them to respond quickly to market challenges and opportunities, and ensure business resilience”.
The study found that in a short span of six months, organisations in India have increased their ability to innovate by 4 per cent by maturing their ‘Culture of Innovation’, and that close to 78 per cent of organisations surveyed saying they are speeding up digitalisation in a variety of ways to adapt to the “new reality”.
This included launching digital products and introducing digital payments to embracing e-commerce and automation.
According to the survey, 64 per cent respondents acknowledged that innovation has become easier in the post-COVID-19 era. Prior to the pandemic, only 32.5 per cent of Indian business said they found innovation in their products and services easy.
“Innovation is no longer an option, but a necessity. We have seen how the recent crisis has spurred the need for transformation; for organisations to adapt and innovate in order to emerge stronger,” Microsoft India COO Rajiv Sodhi said.
He added that the research was commissioned to gain better understanding of the relationship between having a culture of innovation and an organization’s growth.
“But now, more than achieving growth, we see that having a mature culture of innovation translates to resilience, and strength to withstand economic crises to recover,” he noted.
IDC Managing Director – India and South Asia Vasant Rao said during COVID-19, 31 per cent of firms in India said they think their business model will lose competitiveness in five years’ time.
“This desire and urgency for continuous improvement through agility and adaptation to change will determine the success of businesses in this new normal,” he added.
According to the report, some best practices will include developing a culture that promotes investing in disruptive technologies and leveraging data to differentiate and enhance products and services.
Another focus area is people. In the coming year, 18.5 per cent businesses surveyed in India said they plan to focus on embracing risks and driving innovation through ongoing learning, and the right talent and skills.
Supported by technological transformation, organisations also need to focus on encouraging new and breakthrough ideas among its employees as well as hiring a diverse workforce.
Sodhi said it is encouraging to see business leaders recognise this aspect, and plan to focus on technology to drive sustained innovation.
“Achieving success in digital transformation requires both the adoption of tools and technologies as well as enhancing people’s capabilities – what we term as tech intensity – a critical component of the culture of innovation,” he added.
Microsoft’s goal is to realise an inclusive future where all organizations in India are dynamic and resilient – to recover well and thrive despite the crisis, and the company is committed to make this happen, together, he added.