Most of the time we compare the relative performance of the West Midlands to that of other English regions, but how do we compare with other regions in the wider EU?
INNO Metric’s 2006 Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS) made such comparisons, assessing data from over two hundred regions across twenty-five states of the EU to assess their relative performance in innovation. In a few weeks’ time, they will release an updated edition of the RIS using the latest available data to compare and contrast innovation performance across the EU.
Hugo Hollanders (MERIT, Maastricht University) and Stefano Tarantola (Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, Joint Research Centre) gave a detailed presentation on the data and methods behind the development of the 2009 RIS.
There are some data availability issues this time round—for example, it has not been possible to include regional data for some larger nations—but the team has applied open and robust imputation measures to generate data for an analysis of regional performance. The data suggest that although the West Midlands may not be the leading region for innovation in Europe, we’re still a much more innovative region in international terms than would be revealed by a mere national comparison.
The RIS results could potentially help us to identify other regions in Europe which are working as the West Midlands’ natural peers, facing the same policy challenges as we do when it comes to encouraging innovation in our businesses and public organisations.
The new RIS will break innovation down into several themes, much as the overarching European Innovation Scoreboard does, which should provide a more detailed basis for regional comparisons which will be more useful to policy-makers.
Other speakers at the event included Robert Tĳssen (Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University), who reported on the use of bibliographic data to measure collaborative research between universities and private-sector firms.
Stephen Flowers (CENTRIM, University of Brighton) also reviewed his findings about user-led innovation, arguing that firms which actively engage their user groups in the innovation process are, on average, much more innovative than those which don’t, and that user-led innovation is not merely a ‘substitute’ for traditional research and development as some have previously suggested.
The event’s delegates included a wide range of experts from across the EU, and the wide-ranging conversations on how best to measure innovation will inform our future work at the Observatory on assessing innovation in the West Midlands.