Presented by EY

Innovation is tough but necessary to respond to the complex challenges of business today

 ·5 Jun 2024

Many large established enterprises grapple with obstacles in pursuing innovation. Large organisations confront the dual challenge of maintaining consistent service delivery and operations while also preparing for the future through innovative practices.

Their expansive scale and historical baggage often hinder their agility, preventing them from emulating the nimbleness of start-ups or the scalability of tech giants.

While being nimble and agile allows start-up companies to quickly identify and act on opportunities, large incumbents operate from a sturdy yet slower foundation, navigating these dynamic times.

Their substantial asset and customer bases, coupled with established practices, often lead to a more cautious approach to risk and a measured exploration of growth through innovation.

Investment mechanisms often lag the strategic ambition to innovate and despite their ambitions to innovate and challenge the status quo, many organisations are built for confidence or certainty in return.

They work within environments of legacy systems and processes that are not designed to accept failure.

These challenges have to be overcome if innovation is to be pursued for strategic growth and competitive advantage. It’s a critical element that helps businesses navigate complex markets, adapt to evolving customer needs, and drive sustained success.

In South Africa, the imperative for innovation cannot be overstated, especially given our evolving social, political, and cultural arenas. The country faces unique challenges, including socioeconomic disparities, political uncertainties, and a dynamic cultural landscape that demands innovative solutions.

These conditions create a fertile ground for innovation, serving as both a catalyst for change and a pathway to addressing deep-rooted issues.

The importance of innovation, therefore, extends beyond economic competitiveness; it’s about crafting sustainable solutions that address our unique societal needs and contribute to the nation’s prosperity.

The 2023 BCX Digital Innovation Index Report underscores the necessity of integrating innovation into the core of business strategy. It highlights how being digital and innovative describes a way of doing business, rather than simply a set of technologies or new products and services.

Now in its second year, the Report will offer companies operating in South Africa a unique opportunity to benchmark their innovation capabilities against industry peers and gain valuable insights into their strategic positioning.

The Report serves not merely as an academic exercise but as a guiding framework. It calls upon organisations to introspect, recalibrate their strategies and approaches, and embrace the dynamic landscape with both resolve and agility.

It unveils how large entities are approaching innovation. It illuminates the factors that either stimulate or impede digital innovation and growth on both a national and sectoral scale.

Would you like to access the 2024 BCX Digital Innovation Index Benchmark Report?

Participating in the BCX Digital Innovation Index provides companies with a strategic advantage, offering insights into the challenges and opportunities in the South African business landscape in an annual benchmark report.

The Index survey for 2024 is now open and we invite all public and private South African businesses generating R100M+ to participate and gain access to benchmark insights on innovation later in the year. Click here.

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