Chapter 4: How firm managers understand innovation: implications for the design of innovation surveys
Data on the innovation activities and outputs of firms have been collected through both object-based methods and subject-based surveys for several decades. Object-based methods collect information on specific innovations, generally through announcements in trade journals and other media (Kleinknecht and Reijnen 1993; Santarelli and Piergiovanni 1996). The advantage of this method is that the researcher can use the information in the media report and from other sources to classify the innovation by type. The fact that the innovation is advertised also ensures a level of novelty, since firms are unlikely to advertise minor differences in their products compared to competitors. The disadvantage of the object-based approach is that it collects little information on the innovation strategies used by firms and it is likely to miss many process and organizational innovations that the firm does not intend to sell and therefore does not advertise.. Subject-based innovation surveys, such as the EU Community Innovation Survey (CIS), can cover all types of innovations and collect a wide variety of information on innovation activities of use to both economic analysis and policy (Colecchia 2007; Freeman and Soete 2009; Bloch 2005; Arundel 2007).
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