New Measures for Innovation

January 23rd, 2008

Posted by: admin

I posted before about the Advisory Committee on Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century, an effort of the Department of Commerce to adjust the economic statistics to better reflect the nature of current innovation. The challenges of effective measurement (and the corresponding analyses) can be demonstrated by the lack of effective data on the services in the economy, and the limits of patent measures as an indicator of innovation.

As an unfortunate indicator of the perceived value of the project, the committee’s report was released this past Friday (a time guaranteed to get limited attention from the media). You can read the press release, as well as key quotes and facts, from the Committee’s homepage –

The project will continue through a series of workshops on the drivers of innovation. The Commerce Secretary committed to developing measures for innovation through the Bureau of Economic Analysis, with help from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and relevant Department of Commerce agencies. The plan is to develop an innovation account that would include measures of intellectual property and human capital that would help measure the impact of investments in innovation on productivity. They will encourage the National Science Foundation to continue its efforts to improve R&D measures connected to innovation. The first new account (the official parlance for a collection of measures in the economic indicators) is expected by January of next year. In the meantime, interested parties should check back with the website to learn about the workshops and other efforts of the committee.

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