Sweden's innovation climate

– Indicators for the national innovation strategy 2013

In this report, Growth Analysis focuses on presenting quantitative indicators for the areas highlighted in Sweden’s national innovation strategy.

These indicators are based on existing statistics, i.e. what is measured today. The things that various innovation surveys measure well today are: a) companies’ expenditure on innovation taken up in the final accounts or captured in questionnaire surveys, or b) the results of innovation activities captured through patents, new products or increased sales revenues. The statistics lead us forward but there is also valuable knowledge that is not captured in statistics that we have. These hitherto “hidden” areas are emphasised in both the national innovation strategy and the present report.

The traditional linear view of innovation is being increasingly questioned. Companies and public organisations have realised that innovation can come about through a range of different activities. The innovation processes are carried on by an increasing number of collaborating players and often in global, open networks. Innovation is not only driven by technology but also by demand and active participation on the part of customers and users. Existing indicators are not always designed to capture these new kinds of innovation.

The present report is the assignment’s fourth interim report, in which Growth Analysis presents a summarising account of the work of identifying indicators for the national innovation strategy’s six main goals and 17 sub-goals. We present a total of 29 indicators of Sweden’s innovation climate that align with the objectives defined in the national innovation strategy. Existing statistics are used as far as possible but also need to be supplemented with qualitative examples within some of the sub-goals that are not measured today. The strategy contains many sub-goals and the list of indicators is therefore an extensive one. Future work should therefore focus on choosing those indicators that are particularly appropriate for measuring innovations and analysing in more detail what these indicators say about the development of Sweden’s innovation climate at national and regional level.

The aim of the national innovation strategy is to develop an innovation climate where Sweden can continue to be a world-leader. To accomplish this, the areas where there are obstacles to innovation today must be identified. The indicators that we propose concern areas in which Sweden shows strengths and weaknesses in international comparisons.

These areas are as follows:

  • Falling results in the Swedish education system
  • Degraded quality of Swedish universities’ research in comparison with other countries
  • Sweden’s contribution of value added in exports has not developed as positively as in other innovation-leading countries
  • A large public sector works extensively with technological development and less with declining productivity and satisfying citizens’ needs

To safeguard the country’s innovation climate, strong areas must also be identified and developed. These are:

  • Swedish organisations and companies provide great scope for intrapreneurs
  • Swedish companies have a high degree of innovation in their new products and services
  • High level of digitalisation in the public sector
  • Many promising regional collaborations on innovation
  • A diversified trade and industry with both service companies and traditional industry, often in close collaboration

In its report, Growth Analysis has proposed indicators for all sub-goals in the national innovation strategy. What is evident is that the sub-goals need to be arranged in order of priority so that future efforts can be focused and fine-tuned as regards the number of relevant indicators. On the basis of its report, Growth Analysis proposes a joint effort together with the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications to determine the sub-goals in the strategy that have highest priority. This will allow Growth Analysis’ final report in June 2014 to penetrate in greater depth those areas that the government considers crucial to strengthening Sweden’s innovation climate. The prioritisations will also give further guidance as to where implementation of the strategy should begin.

Sweden's innovation climate – Indicators for the national innovation strategy 2013

Serial number: WP/PM 2013:14

Reference number: 2013/028

Download the report in Swedish Pdf, 2.7 MB.


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