Against the odds: How European leaders plan to innovate

HLB Survey of Business Leaders 2022 – European outlook


Enlisting people and technology to expedite innovation

Europe is once again facing uncertainty after a period of temporary stabilization. Ongoing reparations from the pandemic have left industries at unequal starting points. New risks — operational, political, and cyber — deranged some of the earlier recovery plans. However, European leaders appear to be better prepared for the new perturbations. 89% agree that they can innovate with greater speed than in the past. At the same time, 88% expect their businesses to be in positive growth territory this year. 

To achieve growth, leaders plan to focus their innovation activity on new technology adoption and new products and services development. The majority are also looking to increase operational efficiencies while focusing on organic growth and new products in the coming year. Excelling at all of these vectors can prove to be challenging in the face of reported barriers to innovation — lack of time, funding, and talent. 

Compared to a year prior, European leaders are more concerned with weaknesses in talent acquisition and innovation capabilities. At the same time, they are pressed to act faster both by local governments, issuing new directives for digitisation and decarbonisation, as well as better-funded and better-staffed market peers. As ‘emerging technologies’ top the list of enablers to better innovation, European leaders believe that artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and machine learning will help them become more successful. Overwhelmingly, local leaders are also looking into innovation opportunities in renewable energy and electrification.

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