Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

How ABS measures innovation

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-04-26


Prof Joshua Gans at CoreEconomics blog asks the following: "How do you measure innovation?" (2008-04-26).  I’d answer by pointing to Glyn Pritchard at the Australian Bureau of Statistics Innovation and Technology National Statistics Centre (NSC) based in Canberra.

The ABS is into objective measurement, not non-verifiable hype-laden management-speak.  They don’t want to know about anything that can’t be added, averaged, Xi-squared and standard-deviationalized!

Here is a sample from one of their reports, followed by a few links to recent documents:

The proportion of businesses that undertook one or more of the three types of innovation (new goods or services, new operational process and new organisational processes) increased from around 30% of businesses in the 2002 to 2003 calendar year period to around 34% of businesses in the 2004 to 2005 calendar year period.

  • Among the innovating businesses in Australia, about 22% of these businesses were involved in two or more forms of innovation activity. For businesses in this category, the majority undertook all three types of innovation….

The proportion of innovation novelty in the 2004 to 2005 calendar years shows that when compared to the European Union, Australia has a relatively low proportion of businesses introducing or implementing innovations which are “New to the industry”, “New to Australia” or “New to the world”.

  • The proportions of innovation novelty have declined between the two survey reference periods as follows: from 17% to 8% for “New to the industry”, from 18% to 10% for “New to Australia” and from 11% to 8% for “New to the world”.
  • Novelty in “New organisational processes” innovation in the 2004 to 2005 calendar years was mainly concentrated in the “New to the business” category (about 94% of total businesses that introduced or implemented new organisational processes) and “New to the industry” innovation (about 5%). “New to Australia” and “New to the world” innovation novelty for “New organisational processes” were both less than 1%.

Mind you the ABS is trying to make things easier for people – by creating a "scorecard" so often touted as a panacea by management types (a.k.a. "suits" and "droids" in geekese).

That’s enough to keep you busy!  And I must wonder, will these metrics improve within this federal term, or indeed by 2020?

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