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Canuck CEOs trailing globally on R&D investment plans: PwC

Canadian CEOs are missing the boat when it comes to R&D and innovation plans for everyhting from new products and services to finding cost reductions in existing practices, according to a global survey by PwC.


May 9, 2012
by PLANT STAFF

TORONTO: Canadian CEOs are missing the boat when it comes to R&D and innovation plans for everyhting from new products and services to finding cost reductions in existing practices, according to a global survey by PwC.

Only 63% of Canadian CEOs expect to make changes to their companies’ research and development (R&D) and innovation capacity over the next 12 months, compared to 72% of their global counterparts.

“There appears to be a general perception that because of our focus and reliance on the natural resources sector, Canada has lagged behind other countries in terms of its investment and support to R&D. We are often seen as a ‘fast follower’ to other countries because that has traditionally been ‘okay’ in our market,” says Tracey Riley, PwC’s national consulting and deals leader.

R&D and innovation are more of a driving force in for future changes in BRIC countries. Eighty-two percent of their CEOs anticipate changes in R&D and innovation capacity in the next year.

Riley suggests proximity may have something to do with Canada’s level of investment.

“Canada is more distant from most of the emerging markets and low-cost markets that often contribute to, or are the target markets for, innovation,” he said, noting other reasons as business culture to geography and the political environment.

He says Canada is seen as more conservative in business, more isolated and contained geographically and not having undergone the same turmoil and volatility that has been felt in other countries which are under pressure to develop.

The scale and aggression of competitors is also ostensibly less intense in Canada.

According to the survey Canadian leaders are focusing on sustainable, long-term change and cost reduction.

“Two-thirds of them expect to change their business strategy over the next twelve months driven by factors like customer demand, the economy, competition and talent,” says Riley.

Click here for a copy of the survey results.