Innovation at the workplace level could raise global GDP: Report

Equality equals innovation and growth. These are the findings from a new Accenture research study (Getting to Equal 2019) that shows employees’ innovation mindset—their willingness and ability to innovate—is nearly six times higher in companies with a robust culture of equality, where everyone can advance and thrive, than in least-equal companies. 

“In order to truly thrive, organizations need to be continuously innovating to offset disruptions within their respective industries,” said Claudia Thompson, Accenture’s managing director for health and public service and lead for inclusion and diversity in Canada. “The impact of having a diverse workforce and culture of equality is a powerful multiplier of innovation and growth within a company.”

After surveying more than 18,000 professionals in 27 countries, which includes 700 from Canada, 95% see innovation as vital to competitiveness and business viability. Also, the research shows the more empowering the workplace environment, the higher the innovation mindset score. For instance, Canadian employees in robust cultures of equality are seven times more likely to say that nothing holds them back from innovating (39% in most equal cultures vs. 5% in least equal cultures).

However, organizations must close the important gap the research revealed between C-suite executives and employees. While 76% of executives globally said they empower employees to innovate, only 37% of employees agree. The new research found that an innovation mindset is stronger in fast-growing economies and in countries with high labour-productivity growth. The opportunity is enormous for companies and the world economy is huge. Accenture calculates that global gross domestic product would increase by up to US$8 trillion over 10 years if the innovation mindset in all countries were raised by 10%. Accenture has identified 40 workplace factors that contribute to a culture of equality and labelled them under three overarching categories: Bold Leadership, Comprehensive Action and Empowering Environment.

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