Urenio Watch Watch: Innovation Measurement

Oslo Manual

The Oslo Manual is an initiative of OECD, the European Commission and Eurostat focusing on the measurement of innovation. It has two objectives: to provide a framework within which existing surveys in OECD countries can evolve towards comparability; and to assist newcomers to this important field.

The first version of the Oslo Manual was issued in 1992.The surveys undertaken using it, mainly the Community Innovation Survey (CIS), showed that it is possible to develop and collect data on the complex and differentiated process of innovation. The Manual has set the standard for the Innovation Scoreboard than the EC publishes each year. The second edition of the Manual takes the original framework of concepts, definitions and methodology and updates them to incorporate survey experience and improved understanding of the innovation process. It provides guidelines by which comparable innovation indicators can be developed in OECD countries, and discusses the analytical and policy problems to which the indicators are relevant.

Structure of the manual

The body of the manual starts with a general discussion of points that are likely to have some effect on the choice of indicators (Chapter 2):

    an adequate conceptual understanding of the structure and characteristics of the innovation
    process and its implications for policy making;
    the key unresolved problems which further data could clarify;
    consequences for the scope of the manual.

It continues with definitions, criteria and classifications which are relevant for studies of industrial innovation:

    basic definitions of technological product & process – TPP – innovation and innovation activities (Chapter 3);
    institutional classifications (Chapter 4).

After that, suggestions and recommendations are advanced for national and international TPP innovation surveys:

    measuring aspects of the TPP innovation process (Chapter 5);
    measuring the expenditure on TPP innovation (Chapter 6);
    innovation survey procedures (Chapter 7).

The manual closes with a set of annexes dealing with topics which either offer alternative procedures to those generally recommended or which are of relevance but not sufficiently developed for inclusion in the body of the manual:

    the “object” approach to data compilation/collection (Annex 1);
    the collection of non-technological innovation data (Annex 2)