In this column called “The Indicator,” we will be taking an economic or financial statistic from East Africa and breaking it down into bite-sized nuggets of knowledge for investors. This month’s indicator figure is 816. 816 of what? There are a total 816 innovation professionals in East African Community (EAC) countries as identified by inclusion of the word “innovation” in their current public job description according to a series of searches using the popular professional social networking site, LinkedIn. This Indicator figure certainly does not incorporate all people involved in innovation, but seeks to use this metric as a rubric to stimulate discussion on the importance of innovation in East Africa for business competitiveness. What do you mean by innovation professionals? Innovation is defined as the process of creating a new method, process, product, or service. People whose job is focused on innovation are considered innovation professionals who are typically responsible for uncovering and prioritizing challenges companies face and developing and integrating internal and external solutions to solve problems and adapt to challenges. Why do companies employ innovation professionals? Innovation professionals help companies increase revenue, decrease costs, and be more competitive in the market. Customer preferences, technology, competition, and regulations all change over time which creates challenges
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