Innovation in the business enterprise sector

Updated: 4 October 2021

Next update: 3 July 2023

Share of enterprises that introduced new goods or services
Share of enterprises that introduced new goods or services
Business enterprise innovation
Business enterprise innovation
Per cent of all enterprisesPer cent of innovation active enterprises1000 NOK
Innovation activityProduct- or business process innovationProduct innovationBusiness process innovationEnterprises with R&D or innovation co-operationInnovation expenditure
All industries635838484474 579 776
Manufacturing656041484518 480 422
Services666143504545 229 668
Other services524618414110 869 686
Size class
5-9 persons employed60553945456 923 791
10-19 persons employed69644351469 136 414
20-49 persons employed595432463612 819 150
50-99 persons employed66613751468 526 604
100-199 persons employed71654753577 692 353
200-499 persons employed76705158608 613 289
500 persons employed and more847763707420 868 174
Explanation of symbols

Selected tables and figures from this statistics

  • Innovation activity by detailed industry
    Innovation activity by detailed industry
    Pen cent of all enterprises
    Innovation activityProduct or business process innovationProduct and business process innovationproduct innovationproduct innovation (goods)product innovation (services)Process innovation (OM3)Business process innovation
    All industries6358283828254548
    Fishing and aquaculture6249202318103945
    Mining and cuarrying5246152017133741
    Food products6559314441134447
    Wearing apparel5547334444203135
    Leather and leather products171717171701717
    Wood and wood products615919262565051
    Paper and paper products7565294743144747
    Printing and reproduction6461273523244752
    Refined petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products7662385754194043
    Rubber and plastic products7570375353194953
    Other non-metal mineral products6255233531104243
    Basic metals6551153127123135
    Fabricated metal prod.5451263028154246
    Electronic and optical products9185508077275356
    Electrical equipment8779276262153944
    Machinery and equipment7773405845334755
    Motor vehicles etc.676736505064752
    Other transport equipment5741192924112931
    Other manufacturing7976466157305661
    Repair, installation of machinery5857192922174747
    Electricity and gas supply7260263619314949
    Water supply, sewerage and waste6757232714215053
    Wholesale trade5956253731184145
    Transportation and storage474415176174042
    Food and beverage service activities4342182214153638
    Publishing activities8478476548485659
    Motion picture, TV, music prod.7264325128344646
    Programming, broadcasting activities4646212110173646
    Computer programming, consultancy8882556948606668
    Information service activities9085517152626465
    Financial and insurance activities6359283713344850
    Head offices, management consult.7569395123485158
    Architecture, engineering act.6663344732354749
    Scientific research and development9476536648426163
    Advertising and market research6462313826334655
    Other professional, scientific and technical activities6764375544314545
    Travel agency, tour operators8372424217427272
    Business support activities5742223212263233
    Explanation of symbols
  • Innovation in the business enterprise sector. By industry and employment group
    Innovation in the business enterprise sector. By industry and employment group
    Per cent of all enterprises
    Innovation activityProduct or business process innovationProduct and business process innovationProduct innovationProduct innovation (goods)Product innovation (services)Process innovation (OM3)Business process innovation
    All industries6358283828254548
    Other services5246131811133841
    Size of enterprise
    5-9 persons employed6055283929254245
    10-19 persons employed6964314332284851
    20-49 persons employed5954233222214246
    50-99 persons employed6661273725234651
    100-199 persons employed7165354735305053
    200-499 persons employed7670395133345658
    500 persons employed and more8477566341506770
    Explanation of symbols

About the statistics

The Innovation Survey provides information about Norwegian enterprises' propensity and ability to introduce new or improved products, processes, organisational practices or marketing methods. It also gives information about the framework conditions for such efforts and about how they are conducted.

The main concepts and terms used in the survey are defined as follows:

Product innovation
A product innovation is the introduction of goods or a service that is new or significantly improved with respect to its characteristics or intended uses. This includes significant improvements in technical specifications, components and materials, incorporated software, user friendliness or other functional characteristics.

Process innovation
A process innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method. This includes significant changes in techniques, equipment and/or software.

Organisational innovation
An organisational innovation is the implementation of a new organisational method in the firm’s business practices, workplace organisation or external relations.

Marketing innovation
A marketing innovation is the implementation of a new marketing method involving significant changes in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing.

Innovative enterprises
An innovative enterprise is one that has introduced any of the four types of innovation during the observation period. For the 2016 survey this means the introduction of a PP innovation during the three years from 2014-2016. Enterprises that have had ongoing but not completed innovation projects are not included among innovative enterprises. Previously, innovative enterprises often referred only to enterprises with product and/or process innovation (PP-innovation, also called technological innovation). Statistics Norway now strives to make it explicit whether we are referring to all innovators, technological innovators or non-technological innovators.

Innovation activity
An enterprise with innovation activity is an enterprise is either innovative or had innovation projects that were either abandoned or had not yet led to an innovation by the end of the observation period.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC 2007 from 2008, SIC 2002 up to 2006). The basis for the Norwegian SIC 2007 standard is the EU standard NACE Rev.2 and the UN standard ISIC.

Size class by number of persons employed:

○ 5-9 persons employed
○ 10-19 persons employed
○ 20-49 persons employed
○ 50-99 persons employed
○ 100-199 persons employed
○ 200-499 persons employed
○ 500 and above

Name: Innovation in the business enterprise sector

Topic: Technology and innovation

3 July 2023

Division for Business Dynamics Statistics

National level.

Every two years covering an observation period of three years with the latter being the reference year.

Eurostat and the OECD.

Microdata and information on sample units and the population are stored permanently.

The innovation survey is carried through as part of a joint statistic for the European Union (EU) and associated countries. This was initiated in 1992, and the statistics were initially produced every four years. EUROSTAT (EU’s statistical office) has created the contents and framework for the survey, in collaboration with the countries conducting the survey and in consultation with the OECD. Indicators are based methodically on the colloquially named "Oslo manual" which was first published by OECD in 1992.

The Oslo manual was initially concieved for examination of innovation in the manufacturing sector only; hence the first survey only covered this segment of enterprises. It was revised and adjusted to also survey the services sector in 1997. A third revision, now covering a broader range of innovation activities including organisational innovations and marketing innovations was published in 2005. This is the current version of the manual.

The survey is part of Eurostat’s Community Innovation Survey (CIS), which has been developed gradually since the first innovation survey (CIS1), undertaken with 1992 as the reference year. CIS2 was carried through for the year 1997, CIS3 for 2001 and CIS4 for 2004.

Since 2004 the survey has been carried out every two years.

Key users are public administration, the Norwegian Research Council, researchers and business organisations. The survey is important for the evaluation of the innovation policy and the industrial policies in general. The statistics are also used by Eurostat and the OECD for international comparisons.

Not relevant

During the period 1997-2012, the survey was sent out together with the Business enterprise R&D survey. From 2001-2012 both surveys were also included in the same questionnaire.

Some data is not collected in the survey itself but drawn fom other sources. This includes information the enterprises' turnover, number of persons employed, whether or not they belong to an enter prise group as well as information on the education level of the employees.

Sections 2-2 and 2-3 of Act no. 54 of 16 June 1989 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway.

Decision No. 1608/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the production and development of Community statistics on innovation, and the implementing Commission Regulation No. 995/2012 of 26 October 2012 as regards statistics on science and technology.

The Business Enterprise sector. NACE Rev.2 industries 03, 05-33, 35-39, 41-43, 46, 49-53, 55-56, 58-66, 70-74, 79 and 82 (SN2007).

Coverage is enterprises with at least 5 persons employed. Except in NACE groups F and H (41-43, 49-53) and NACE 56 which only covers enterprises with at least 20 persons employed.

The survey is conducted using the Norwegian Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises (VoF) as a sampling frame and as a source for auxiliary SBS data (employment, turnover, etc.).

The survey is a census of all units within the population with at least 50 persons employed. Among the other units with 5-49 persons employed a random sample is drawn within each stratum (NACE 2-digit and size class). The sample rate is either 35, 15 or 10 per cent, depending on size class and the number of enterprises in the strata. The total number of units in the sample for the 2014-2016 survey was approximately 6500.

The statistical unit is the enterprise. An enterprise is defined as the smallest combination of legal units that is an organisational unit producing goods or services. An enterprise may be a sole legal unit. An enterprise carries out one or more activities at one or more locations and may consist of one or more kind-of-activity units or local kind-of-activity units.

Data collection for the innovation survey is conducted via an electronic questionnaire on the government platform Altinn. A cover letter directing the enterprises to answer along with information about the survey is sent through the same platform 5-6 weeks after the end of the reference year.

All responses undergo on-receipt controls (is the questionnaire filled in, are there any obvious inconsistencies etc). After all the data is made available electronically, more detailed controls are undertaken, including cross referencing with data from the previous survey, financial account information etc.

For units with less than 50 persons employed, the survey is based on a sample of units. Total figures for this part of the survey population are estimated based on the sample units. The estimations are done within each stratum, NACE 2-digit level and size class.

Not relevant
Not relevant

In principle the results are comparable across time and countries. Nevertheless, some national modifications regarding coverage and contents have been made (as they may also have been in other countries). Caution should be applied when comparing the various surveys, both between countries and over time, especially using nationally published results. For the best comparison of data, see results published by Eurostat.

Methodological differences in the data gathering and aggregation of results may also impact comparability between countries significantly. These issues as they relate to the Norwegian survey are discussed in the OECD Statistic Newsletter 1/2014.

Due to the above mentioned methodological changes, data covering the periods 2010-2012 and earlier are not considered to be comparable with later surveys.

The data gathering process for the Norwegian innovations survey has, starting with the present survey covering the period form 2014-2016, transitioned from using an in-house survey platform to using the common government platform Altinn; both for direct communication with the respondents and for supplying the requested data/answering the survey. While the wording of the questions themselves have remained as unaltered as possible, several structural changes in the questionnaire was unavoidable.

In addition, the transition to fully electronic communication with the respondents as well as other aspects of the standardized system may have influenced the response processes in the enterprises. Statistics Norway has observed some trends in the data that are likely to be, at least partially, caused by such issues, but without a baseline for comparison it is difficult to quantify the substantial impact of any such effects.

We would therefore encourage users of the data to show caution when making inferences or drawing conclusions based on these data in comparison with those from the past two surveys, 2011-2013 and 2012-2014.

The concept of innovation may, for some enterprises, be difficult to interpret and distinguish from related activities.

The response rate for the survey is quite high, >95 per cent, and the results should for that reason not be biased by non-respondents. Item non-response has been virtually eliminated due to electronic data gathering.

The population of enterprises is based upon the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises. The sample is stratified by NACE 2-digit and number of persons employed. Incomplete updating of these variables and entries and exits of enterprises may cause errors in the survey.

Due to the CIS being in part a sample survey, an inherent statistical uncertainty (model error) applies to the results. The uncertainty attached to the size groups containing the smaller enterprises is greater than for the larger enterprises. Comparisons over time for the detailed industry breakdowns should also be made with some caution, especially for industries with relatively few enterprises in the population.

Not relevant