In June OECD published its report on Norwegian innovation and innovation policy.
It has not led to much discussion in Norway or in Europe for that matter, but it should, as it presents a new and broader view of what can make a country innovative.
Those of you who know me and my blog, know that I have been concerned about the strong R&D bias of innovation policy development and in innovation indicators.
It is not that research and development is not important for industrial innovation. It probably is even more important than we previously thought. The point is that it is only one of many ways of learning. There is design, marketing, branding and organizational change, for instance.
Moreover, if you look at research in isolation, R&D does not only deliver ideas, inventions, products, processes and services. It also makes the companies and the research institutions better at finding, understanding and making use of knowledge and technology developed elsewhere.
The OECD report covers all these factors, and argues that “the Norwegian paradox” — i.e. the fact that Norway seems to invest little in R&D, but reports very high productivity and wealth creation — is not a paradox at all. Norwegian industry is mostly very knowledge intensive, even if the companies do not invest as much in R&D as a percentage of turnover as, let’s say, Nokia or Volvo.
I could not agree more.
I have made a presentation in Norwegian giving a summary of the report. I is included below.