Any firm that aims for a long-term survival and growth, innovation is of utmost importance. Owing to rapid changes in the macro and micro environment of business operation, a firm needs to be flexible and accommodating to new opportunities and threats. A dynamic and innovative attitude becomes important for an overall development and existence of the organisation. The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, is one such situation where innovation was highly desired for to keep the firm afloat.  According to a recent study by Microsoft and IDC, 77 per cent of Indian organisations have found innovation to be critical or important to their performance and resilience, amid the worldwide pandemic. Around 439 business decision makers and 438 workers were surveyed in India within a 6-month period, before and since COVID-19 outbreak.

The study concluded that the businesses in India have increased their ability to innovate by 4 per cent in mere six month time period, as it became essential to cope up with the threats of the external environment. It also revealed that around 78 per cent of the Indian organisations are speeding up digitalisation in a variety of ways to adapt to the new reality. Thereby launching digital products and introducing digital payments, and increasing moving towards e-commerce and automation by adapting the innovative culture in businesses. As a result, Indian companies are aiming at increasing their revenue from digital products and services to 50 per cent in the next three years from 36 per cent at present.

"Innovation is no longer an option, but a necessity. We have seen how the recent crisis has spurred the need for transformation; for organizations to adapt and innovate in order to emerge stronger," Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft India, told reporters in a virtual round-table. "We commissioned this research 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 added.

Since the external environment, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, has necessitated the innovation and diversification of business operations and its products, more and more firms are looking for opportunities and areas to innovate. According to the survey, 64 per cent of 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 found innovation in their products and services easy. The study introduced the culture of innovation framework, which spans the dimensions of people, process, data, and technology, to assess organizations' approach to innovation.

According to the survey, as much as 45 per cent of the Indian organisations feel that their priorities for the next 12 months will be to focus on technology as most essential for business resilience and recovery. Some best practices will include developing a culture that promotes investing in disruptive technologies and leveraging data to differentiate and enhance products and services, the study said.