San Francisco, CA (Gawkwire.com) The public’s inclination toward innovative products was largely unaffected by the drop in consumer confidence last year, according to the 2008 IIIP Innovation Confidence Index that was expanded to cover every region of the world and released publicly today.
 
The survey also found that societal values are more important than individual demographics, such as age or education, in predicting whether local consumers will accept innovative products. For example, a middle-aged non-entrepreneur in a traditional society like Colombia is significantly more likely to believe new products or services will improve his life than a young Finnish entrepreneur.

"Worldwide, we found that people’s confidence in innovation seems to be independent of whether the economy is going up or down and that people in countries with more traditional social values are more likely to welcome innovation. The IIIP Innovation Confidence Index is the only clear snapshot of consumers’ receptivity to innovative products, and findings like these provide important insights for developing global marketing strategies," the report’s author Dr. Jonathan Levie of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow said.

The annual survey commissioned by the Institute for Innovation & Information Productivity (IIIP) shows a dip of just 1 percent on average in consumers’ openness toward innovation across the seven countries sampled in both 2007 and 2008. Comparatively, overall personal confidence in local economic conditions dropped 8 percent on average across the same countries during an equivalent period, as reported by A.C. Nielsen’s consumer confidence index.

The 2008 IIIP Innovation Confidence Index incorporates responses from 81,000 consumers and covers 25 countries, more than doubling the geographic reach of the 2007 study. The survey provides a country-by-country average of the percentage of consumers between 18 and 64 years old who agreed that within the next six months they were likely to buy products or services new to the market, they were likely to try products or services that use new technologies for the first time, and that new products and services would improve their lives.

Innovation Linked to Values; Most Popular in Developing Countries, Among Young:
Overall, the report found that societal values eclipsed personal demographics in determining how receptive individuals are to innovation. Countries rated as "traditional" by the World Values Survey, like Ireland, the United States and those in South America, had a higher level of innovation confidence than countries where secularism is valued, such as the Netherlands, Finland and Japan.

Overall the survey found:

The people of South American and African countries, including Colombia, Peru, Angola, South Africa and Uruguay, scored highest as accepting of innovative new products and services.
The average innovation confidence index for eight South American and Caribbean countries was 70, compared with an average of 53 for ten European countries.
The United States and Mexico both had mid-level scores of 60.
Countries in the Middle East and Asia varied widely in their attitudes toward innovation.
On average, two-thirds of working-age consumers in developing countries were receptive to innovative products and services compared with half of this group in more developed countries. This is partly because younger people tend to be more receptive to new products and the age profile of developing countries is younger.

The IIIP-sponsored index was implemented by the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde in association with the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association and its annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report. It is intended to provide business and government a valid measurement of which regions and types of consumer are most open to innovative products and provides insights for evaluating markets or economic policies.

The report with country-by-country innovation confidence chart and analysis is available at no cost on the Institute’s Web site at www.iii-p.org. The 2008 IIIP Innovation Confidence Index was issued as an independent supplement to the annual GEM report to attendees at the 2009 GEM Planning Meeting on Jan. 15-18 at Babson College in Mass., U.S.A.

Changing 21st Century Business Metrics:
Phil McKinney, IIIP president and vice president and chief technology officer of the Personal Systems Group at HP, said, "Armed with an understanding of the cultural impact of innovation, global companies can execute new products and services that really matter. The IIIP Consumer Confidence Index provides important direction to industry and world governments seeking to encourage the social benefits of innovation through policy direction and investment."

The Institute is a collaboration of business, academic and philanthropic professionals working together to define the new metrics of the information age and has released a number of studies seeking to understand the most effective ways to deploy innovation and achieve a positive impact on society. For example, the IIIP is currently finalizing a study of the economic impact of social networks and the relationship between consumers, behavior patterns and revenue generation.



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