IP Outreach Research > IP Creation


Title: First findings from the UK Innovation Survey 2007
Author: Stephanie Robson and Greg Haigh [Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills]

Economic & Labour Market Review 2, no. 4: 47-53

Year: 2008


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: 14.872 enterprises with 10+ employees across manufacturing and services sectors
Methodology: Postal questionnaire

Main Findings

In the three-year period from 2004 to 2006, 64% of enterprises were classed as being innovation active (compared to 57% in the three-year period from 2002 to 2004). Large enterprises with 250+ employees were more likely to engage in innovation activity (74%, up by 2%) than their smaller counterparts (63%, up by 6%). Product innovation (22% overall) was more frequent than process innovation (12% overall); the level of both product and process innovation was considerably greater in larger enterprises.

10% (versus 12% in 2002-2004) reported having cooperation arrangements on innovation, most frequently with suppliers and clients or customers (both at 68%). Innovative activities varied across economic sectors, with 81% of electrical and precision engineering enterprises and 68% of real estate, renting and business activities being innovatively active; innovation activity was found to be lowest in the "mining and quarrying" (56%) and "hotels and restaurants" (46%) sectors.

The most cited motivation factors for innovation include "improved quality of goods or services", "increased value added" and "meeting regulatory requirements". 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).

The 2004-2006 data show an overall fall in the perception of barriers to innovate. Costs continued to be regarded as the most significant barrier to innovation, including the direct resource costs of innovation activities, the perceived economic risk and the costs of acquiring finance. Independent of enterprise size, the impact of UK and EU regulations was also thought to be a barrier to innovation. Other obstacles cited include a lack of knowledge and a lack of qualified personnel. Larger enterprises also expressed concerns regarding market factors.

When asked for possible reasons why businesses were not involved in innovation during the survey period, non-innovators stated that it was either "not necessary due to market-related conditions" (about 50%) or that "particular constraints were sufficiently binding to prevent innovation" (slightly over 25%).

Compared to the 2001 UK Innovation Survey covering the 1998 to 2000 period, and to the 2005 UK Innovation Survey covering the 2002 to 2004 period (adjusted to 2001 sectoral coverage), the proportion of innovation active enterprises is higher: by 14% from the 2001 Survey to the 2005 Survey, and by another 5% from the 2002 to 2004 period to the 2004 to 2006 period.

[Date Added: Aug 18, 2008 ]