Measuring innovation

Just how innovative are we? This is the question answered by the Innovation Indicator, which was published jointly by the BDI and acatech for the first time in 2015.

 Where does Germany stand in the international competition when it comes to innovation? What are the factors that impact our capacity for innovation and how can these be influenced and measured? What recommendations for action can be developed on the basis of these findings and how fast would effects be seen if these recommendations were implemented?

These are the questions addressed by the Innovation Indicator, which was initiated in 2005 by the BDI and the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung and continued in 2015 as a collaboration between the BDI and acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering. The next Innovation Indicator will be published at the end of the year in Berlin. The Innovation Indicator is developed by an independent team of scientists. The consortium is comprised of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) in Karlsruhe and the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim. The basic principles of the Innovation Indicator are: Where does Germany stand in the international competition when it comes to innovation? What are the factors that impact our capacity for innovation and how can these be influenced and measured? What recommendations for action can be developed on the basis of these findings and how fast would effects be seen if these recommendations were implemented? These are the questions addressed by the Innovation Indicator, which was initiated in 2005 by the BDI and the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung and continued in 2015 as a collaboration between the BDI and acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering. The next Innovation Indicator will be published at the end of the year in Berlin. The Innovation Indicator is developed by an independent team of scientists. The consortium is comprised of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) in Karlsruhe and the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim. The basic principles of the Innovation Indicator are:

  1. Ensuring timely results by applying forecasting and extrapolation methods (“nowcasting”) for each individual indicator. All indicators relate to the year preceding the publication date.

  2. Using a model-based approach to select indicators: Each of the 38 indicators was selected based on its statistically verified value in providing information on national innovation achievements. This ensures both clarity and relevance of results.

  3. Sub-dividing the indicators according to input/output and sub-systems (industry, education, science, state, society): This allows for a detailed analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of individual countries and thus targeted recommendations for action.

  4. Incorporating hard and soft indicators: Innovation activities do not depend solely on directly measurable factors, such as the financial and human resources available, but also on softer factors that cannot be measured directly, such as social attitudes. The Innovation Indicator also collects relevant data on these soft factors in order to reflect innovation systems in their entirety. This sets it apart from many other innovation rankings.

Users can create their own profiles for individual countries, compare various nations and develop their own individual indicators on the website www.innovationsindikator.de. The site also contains detailed documentation of the methods and indicators used in the form of an electronic method report. Background articles on selected innovation topics are also published regularly online. An English-language app for tablets can be downloaded from the App Store (for iOS) and the Google Play Store (for Android). The app offers additional content in the form of interviews and interactive graphics, as well as the interactive data analysis tool “My indicator”.