Innovation a high business priority for Singaporean companies

Singaporean CIOs are embracing the innovation trend, with 95 per cent implementing measures to boost innovation in their company. Read more here.


  • 95% of Singaporean CIOs are implementing measures to boost innovation in their company in the next 12 months
  • Singaporean companies rate themselves in the upper mid-table of the innovation scale with an average score of 3.7 out of 5
  • 47% will employ IT talent with unique skills to build a more innovative business over the next 12 months

Singapore has long been at the top of global rankings when it comes to embracing innovation. According to an independent survey from specialist recruiter Robert Half, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are increasingly embracing the innovation trend, with 95 per cent implementing measures to boost innovation in their company over the next 12 months. 

Less than one fifth (14 per cent) of Singaporean CIOs believe their company is highly innovative and give themselves a score of 5 out of 5 when it comes to their level of innovation in the organisation. The majority still believe there is room for improvement as the average score given by CIO’s was 3.7 out of 5. 

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director Robert Half Singapore said: “The high percentage of companies further pursuing innovation confirms Singapore’s place as one of the most innovative countries in the world.”  

“Innovation is a high priority for Singaporean companies looking for ways to contend with regional competitors that often have lower cost structures. By embracing innovation Singaporean companies can maintain their competitiveness and capture increased market share.”

How Singaporean companies are boosting innovation 
The overall majority of Singaporean companies are taking measures to boost innovation with an approach that consists of a combination of both technology and people. Data infrastructure tops the list with more than half (55 per cent) of the Singaporean CIOs planning to build more data centres to leverage data more efficiently. Human capital comes in second as almost half (47 per cent) plan to hire new IT talent with unique skills for the purpose of building a more innovative business. More than four in ten (46 per cent) will reshape network infrastructure to improve operational processes, followed by 43 per cent who are developing new software. 

Measures CIOs will take to build a more innovative business over the next 12 months

Building data centres to leverage data more efficiently 55%
Employing IT talent with in-demand/unique skills 47%
Reshaping network infrastructure to improve operational processes 46%
Developing/enhancing software 43%
Developing new technology tools to improve customer experience (e.g. App development) 38%
Focusing on a more collaborative work environment 27%

Source: independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 100 Singaporean CIOs – multiple answers allowed.

“The main driver of innovation is technology with mobile, cloud, and big data technologies allowing companies to deliver better services and improve their productivity. Leveraging these technologies can be the catalyst for innovation by optimising the customer experience, automating processes and enhancing employee efficiency.”

“To foster an innovative culture, companies will not only need to continuously invest in their technological infrastructure, they also need to make sure they have the best human resources to develop, optimise and support IT initiatives in order to maximise the return on investment in technology,” Mr Imbert-Bouchard said.

With all of the Singapore CIOs surveyed (100 per cent) saying that it is challenging to find skilled IT staff, having an innovative corporate culture can serve as a point of difference to attract and retain top IT talent.

“Singapore’s skilled IT professionals are keen for opportunities where they can have a meaningful impact by developing and driving innovation so they are more attracted to companies who are expertly communicating their focus on innovation. Given the current IT skills shortage, companies with a visibly innovative culture therefore have an advantage over their competitors in attracting and retaining the best IT employees,” Mr Imbert-Bouchard said. 

Robert Half suggests the following tips for encouraging innovation:

  1. Capture ideas: By failing to capture and note creative ideas as they are formed, businesses could miss out on valuable innovative solutions. 
  2. Encourage employees to speak up: Every employee needs to feel encouraged to speak up and contribute their views on how to make innovative improvements to the business.  
  3. Create a culture of innovation: Leaders must foster a culture that supports new ideas. This includes developing clear structures and processes to identify and implement innovation. 
  4. Develop the talent in your organisation: Staff development is integral to innovation. It promotes innovation skills like personal responsibility, understanding of errors and visionary thinking.
  5. Remove the barriers: Innovation relies on both financial and technological possibilities. IT must support innovation with modern technologies – like data analytics and cloud technology – and remain attractive to IT professionals at the same time.


[1] See 

About the research

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted in April 2016 by an independent research company, surveying 100 CIOs/CTOs in Singapore. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace. 


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]