Innovation Indicators

The Business Unit is coordinated by Dr. Rainer Frietsch.

Projects of the Business Unit Innovation Indicators

Innovations are the successful implementation of new technologies, services or organizational concepts in the market. Modern approaches in innovation research proceed from an innovation system, which implies among other things that numerous actors and factors exert a direct or indirect influence on the innovation success.

In order to describe and analyze innovation systems, or to judge their competitiveness, these factors and their various dimensions must be considered in appropriate numbers. While some aspects permit an exclusively qualitative access, the quantitative economic and social science methods and indicators necessary for such analyses are developed and applied in the Business Unit "Innovation Indicators". Not only statistical competences are the main focus of the studies, but an explicitly multi-disciplinary approach is chosen, which pre-supposes knowledge in the natural and engineering sciences as well as requiring a profound understanding of the processes and systems being investigated.

Innovation and competitiveness however cannot be directly measured. Therefore various indicators are utilized - i.e. proxy variables - which were empirically proved to be closely connected with innovations, respectively with the output of innovation systems. Accordingly, the Competence Center "Policy and Regions" in its Business Unit "Innovation Indicators" addresses various indicators of this type which can be measured and quantified and allow, for instance, innovation potentials, technological performance or possible future technological developments to be estimated.

The spectrum of indicators applied ranges from resource indicators (input), over R&D revenue indicators (throughput) up to progress indicators (output). For example, the outlay for research and development, the employment of qualified personnel, economic structures or also foreign trade data are analyzed. Science and technology indicators, however, form the core of the work performed in the Business Unit "Innovation Indicators". Among these are scientific publications (bibliometrics), the analysis of which can provide estimates of the quality and competitiveness of public research systems (performance measurement). A further central focus of the research concerns the analysis of patent applications, which on the one hand acts as an indicator of research and development successes. On the other hand, patents provide an indirect look into the (statistical) future as they can be simultaneously interpreted as inputs for subsequent processes like production, employment, foreign trade etc.

In the Business Unit "Innovation Indicators", the main emphases in the quantitative analysis of innovation systems are laid on the following four fields:

  1. Intellectual property rights (IPR) and protection strategies
  2. International and sectoral competition analyses
  3. Performance of the science system
  4. Knowledge-based enterprises