Innovation in the business enterprise sector

Updated: 4 October 2021

Next update: Not yet determined

Share of enterprises that introduced new goods or services
Share of enterprises that introduced new goods or services
2018-2020
38
%

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

Not yet determined

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.

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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.

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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. http://www.oecd.org/std/OECD-Statistics-Newsletter-Jan2014.pdf

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.

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