IP Outreach Research > IP Creation


Title: First findings from the UK Innovation Survey 2005
Author: Stephanie Robson and Laurent Ortmans [Department of Trade and Industry]

Economic Trends no. 628: 58-64

Year: 2006


Subject/Type: Innovation
Focus: Barriers, Impact
Country/Territory: United Kingdom
Objective: To provide a periodic snapshot of the spectrum of innovation inputs and outputs and of the constraints faced by UK businesses in their innovation efforts, across the entire range of UK industries and business enterprises.
Sample: 16.446 enterprises with 10+ employees across manufacturing and services sectors
Methodology: Postal questionnaire

Main Findings

In the three-year period from 2002 to 2004, 57% of enterprises were classed as being innovation active. Large enterprises with 250+ employees were more likely to engage in innovation activity (72%) than their smaller counterparts (57%). Product innovation (25% overall) was more frequent than process innovation (16% overall); the level of both product and process innovation was considerably greater in larger enterprises.

12% reported having cooperation arrangements on innovation, most frequently with suppliers (75% of those with cooperation agreements), and clients or customers (74%). Innovative activities varied across economic sectors, with 85% of electrical and precision engineering enterprises and 67% of financial intermediation institutions being innovatively active; innovation activity was found to be lowest in the "electricity, gas and water supply" (36%) and "hotels and restaurants" (39%) sectors.

The most cited effects of innovation include "improved quality of goods or services" (34%), "increased value added" (28%) and "meeting regulatory requirements" (27%). Guidance, advice and inspiration for innovation projects were most commonly sought from internal sources (from within the enterprise itself or other enterprises within the enterprise group) and market sources (suppliers, customers, clients, consultants, competitors, commercial laboratories, etc).

Costs were commonly regarded as a significant barrier to innovation, including the direct resource costs of innovation activities, the perceived economic risk and the costs of acquiring finance. The impact of UK and EU regulations was also thought to be a barrier to innovation, particularly for smaller enterprises. Other obstacles cited include a lack of knowledge and a lack of qualified personnel (considered an important constraining factor by smaller businesses).

Compared to the 2001 UK Innovation Survey covering the 1998 to 2000 period, the proportion of innovation active enterprises is up by 14% (+15% for smaller enterprises and +8% for larger ones). In general, higher proportions of enterprises rated information sources of "high" importance in 2005, especially commercial sources such as clients or customers.

[Date Added: Aug 18, 2008 ]