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Indicators needed for stimulating and evaluating innovation

Sveinung Hole presenting the company selection strategy at Sarsia Seed
  • Publisert 23.11.2011
  • Sist oppdatert 25.11.2011
A return to more business focused indicators may improve the ability of innovation programs to actually support and propel new innovations.

This is one of the main statements from the report Key Innovation Indicators on developing and improving indicators for public innovation programs in the Nordic countries, written by Menon Business Economics and managed and funded by Nordic Innovation.


The key findings from the report were presented by Leo A. Grünfeld at Hotel Bristol in Oslo on November 22, to where 20 relevant actors had been invited to discuss the use and application of innovation indicators.


Many existing indicators for public innovation programs focus on the overall gains of an innovation for society as a whole. But unless the innovation is found profitable this rarely becomes significant. The project is therefore stating that the indicators instead should be more based on real business needs.


The overall purpose of the project is to ask how public sector programs can learn from the way private innovation entities think about innovation and innovation management, or in other words: There is probably more to learn from those who constantly focus on innovation to achieve commercial success and higher efficiency.


One of the indicators that can be used to improve existing innovation programs is innovation management.


- Without good management the project most probably will fail, and this is why we need to put more focus on management so that we can identify strengths and weaknesses. Grünfeld said.



Business parameters are necessary

Another indicator is the ties to and cooperation with established industrial players and co-investors as a key to success. There is also a need for more focus on core parameters for profitability, like scale potential and market potential, and on actual innovation effects like costs, revenues and profits.


- Strong interactions with industrial actors enhance the potential for establishing profitable customer relations severely. And in order to create productivity and value the project need to be scalable. Finally there is too much focus on survival; we must become better at killing projects that do not live up to the expectations. To this we need relevant indicators and a strict milestone structure for following up on projects along the way.


Sveinung Hole from Sarsia Seed, a Norwegian national seed fund, presented the company’s strategy when selecting projects to invest in.


- The key words are scalability, coach ability and suitability. Every project needs to justify itself, nothing should pass through the process just because someone has fallen in love with it, he underlined.


Hans-Christian Bjørne, Senior Innovation Adviser at Nordic Innovation, presented the Measured and Managed Innovation program (MMI), helping Nordic companies to measure and manage their innovation efforts in order to increase their return on innovation and to become more competitive.


- Innovation is more than developing products, it is about creating value, he said, and told that the next step for the program will be to measure output effects of innovation investments.



Clear directives  for support

Susanna Jansson, from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth said that they could learn from from private innovation entities when it comes to choosing relevant candidates, measuring the results and cutting off ineffective projects.


- But at the same time it is important to remember that we, as a public actor, have a market complementary status, she underlined.


Emil Görnerup from the Confederation of Swedish Industries added that there are different types of innovation support, and that is always should be a clear purpose and directives for the support to be as effective as possible.




The report is written in collaboration with NIFU and InFuture, represented by Aris Kaloudis, Erland Skogli and Dorothy S. Olsen, as a part of the initiative Designing Effective Nordic Innovation Programs (DENIP), which is managed by Petra Nilsson-Andersen and Hans Christian Bjørne at Nordic Innovation.