The dire consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on many firms across the UK continue with depressing implications for employment and future prosperity. The government has invested heavily in supporting businesses through the furlough scheme, loan schemes and rate relief. The strengths and limitations of these measures have been widely covered in the media, but less… Read more
While some of us have been able to work at home during the Covid-19 crisis – and may have actually improved our productivity – this has not been the case for most of those involved in research and development (R&D). Lock-down has meant no access to laboratories or the specialist kit needed, so many R&D… Read more
It seems increasingly clear that the economic impacts of COVID-19 will be startlingly sharp for the UK and other world economies. The great unknown at present is whether the historic quarterly contraction we’re expecting to see in Q2 of 2020 is followed by a rebound, or a deep and painful recession. What’s also difficult to… Read more
Over the last few days we have seen some inspiring and innovative responses to the Corona Virus crisis by UK firms and universities. The JCB-Dyson collaboration to produce ventilators and the UCL-Mercedes AMG collaboration to develop other breathing aids are outstanding examples. Necessity is the mother of invention after all. But what of the wider… Read more
Education of consumers and minimising red tape is essential as the UK develops its own ‘geographical indication’ (GI) labelling system for traditional food products following Brexit, new research shows The introduction of a new system for protecting unique British food products such as Cornish pasties and Melton Mowbray pork pies will depend on better educating… Read more
The term ‘innovation’ is widely used and abused. What do you imagine when you think of ‘innovation’? Something new? New technology? New drugs or the latest app? Any or all of these could be innovations each of which will have very different impacts on society and the firms and consumers they touch. A new edition… Read more
A fresh look at the role of local, regional and broader eco-system factors in supporting innovation and exporting, growth and productivity. What aspects of local business eco-systems are most influential in shaping the innovation and exporting activities of firms of different types? How do these interact with firms’ internal capabilities?
We will also consider the interaction between innovation and exporting and any feedback between the two influences building on Harris and Moffat (2011)? Methodological issues arise here, as in the competition and local growth project, relating to the definition of ‘local’ and also issues around causality.
The LEP outlook data provides a rich set of local eco-system indicators both for the most recent period and historically covering factors generally considered as productivity drivers (e.g. skills, R&D investment, capital investment) and some more novel factors such as local amenity and emissions. Use this data along with individual establishment level data from the UK innovation survey (which also covers exporting and productivity). Inter alia this will provide a test of the linkage between the LEP Outlook metrics and key performance indicators.
Significant progress has been made in recent years in measuring firms’ intangible investments and their productivity effects. However, measures of the diffusion and implementation of digital technology practices across populations of firms are much less well developed and often provide only a partial view of the process of pre-adoption, adoption and implementation. This means it is difficult to benchmark or calibrate the impact of policy initiatives, such as Made Smarter or other similar measures, designed to promote digital take up and implementation.
Taking its inspiration from multi-dimensional models of high-performance work practices (HPWP) developed in the HR literature and the management practices literature this project aims to develop a suite of diffusion indicators and pilot test their links to firm level productivity. The focus here will be on (a) developing usable metrics (b) examining their distribution and relationship to key firm characteristics such as age, sector and size and (c) relating these to productivity.
The outcome should be three measurement scales for ‘digital readiness’, ‘digital adoption level’ and ‘digital implementation’ of proven reliability which can be used in other studies and policy analysis.
Although productivity growth across the developed world has fallen, the data is clear that productivity in the UK is lagging other industrialised countries. One of the challenges with policy development to improve productivity is that there needs to be some consensus as to what the underlying issues are. But for the UK there is currently… Read more
We know that firms use knowledge protection mechanisms to limit imitation and enhance their ability to appropriate the returns to their innovative investments. Recent research at the ERC suggests that both formal (e.g. patents) and informal (e.g. secrecy) knowledge protection mechanisms are important for the innovation returns of small firms (those with fewer than 50… Read more
Understanding small business dynamics is central to our work at the Enterprise Research Centre and once a year we gather at the Shard in London with 150 researchers, stakeholders, policy makers and small business owners to discuss and debate the state of the small business community. The sixth of these events was held at the… Read more
Innovation and productivity: How strong is the connection? ‘Innovation’ is a much used (and abused) term employed to describe everything from flea collars for dogs to electric cars. As a result, measuring innovation can be tricky, particularly in service sectors where firms’ relationships to customers are often individual and bespoke. Fortunately, the kind people at… Read more
Innovation is good isn’t it? We all love exciting new products or services which are useful and add value to our lives. For firms too innovation can be good for attracting new customers and increasing profits. But what happens when innovation goes wrong? We have all experienced this. Think about the last time you tried… Read more
The study aims to examine the ways in which digital technologies and green practices are adopted through UK manufacturing supply chains, with the overarching objective of providing direction for policy and business support initiatives in this critical area.
The research will comprise one-to-one in-depth interviews with managers and will address the following research questions:
How do managers at different levels in the supply chain experience best practice adoption processes?
What are the chief barriers and enablers to the diffusion of digital technologies and green practices in supply chains
What are the characteristics of supply chain relationships that facilitate/optimise diffusion?
What are the management practices most likely to foster innovation diffusion in supply chains?
The returns to public and privately funded R&D. Which types of innovation (NTM, NTF, organisational strategic etc.) have the greatest productivity payoffs? How do these payoffs vary depending on whether the innovation was publicly or privately funded? Analysis of the UKIS and matched BSD and GtR.
We are all familiar with trademarks from “Google” to ‘McDonald’s”. But who are the UK’s most active trademarkers? And, how is the profile of trademarking changing in the UK? Some data recently published by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) on domestic trademark applications in the UK suggests some of the answers. Before looking at the… Read more
SMEs are losing ground to larger UK firms in terms of innovation. This is one of the key messages in new innovation data recently published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The data taken from the UK Innovation Survey (UKIS 2017) provides the first robust benchmark for levels of business innovation… Read more
ONS figures published this week suggest that the UK spent 1.67 per cent of GDP on R&D in 2016 ranking the UK 11th in the EU. These latest figures put the UK well adrift of the ambitious target of 2.4 per cent R&D spending spelt out in the Industrial Strategy. So, is the 2.4 per… Read more
Innovate UK recently launched a new loan scheme to support research and innovation in UK firms. This scheme – originally conceived in the austerity years – aims to provide an alternative way of supporting innovation alongside the UK’s innovation grants and tax credits. The new loans also suggest a subtle change in emphasis in UK… Read more
News release 7th September 2017 Largest ever study shows public R&D grants turbo-charge growth in UK’s industries of the future Innovation grants stimulated £43bn additional turnover and created estimated 150,000 jobs Employment is boosted by around a fifth, turnover by a quarter – but regional variations are substantial Taxpayer support for high-tech innovation benefits the… Read more
Innovation policy: Driving equity or driving inequality? The need to boost levels of innovation in the UK is at the heart of the recent Green Paper on Industrial Strategy, and few would argue with the general proposition that innovation is good for growth. New products, new services and new ways of doing business help firms… Read more
The current Brexit debate is important and the structure of the UK’s trading and migration arrangements with our international neighbours will influence our future prosperity. However, other more fundamental long term issues remain important for the UK around productivity. UK productivity lags significantly behind that of our main international competitors and Wales is at the… Read more
Innovation is always risky. New technologies may not perform, or may take longer to develop than first anticipated. Customers may react negatively to new products or services and innovation may provoke a strong competitive response from competitors. Will uncertainty linked to the post-Brexit settlement increase or depress firms’ appetite for taking these innovation risks? It… Read more
Re-writing the innovation rulebook Have you ever heard of the Oslo Manual? Sadly it’s not a type of Nordic Kama Sutra but instead the official – OECD backed – rulebook for thinking about and measuring innovation. Over the last 25 years successive editions of the Oslo Manual have provided the definitive guide to what gets… Read more
Good design is a delight. But the potential role of designers goes well beyond improving the functional or aesthetic aspects of a product. Research on design thinking has suggested there should be a design leadership effect when designers lead rather than contributing to firms’ innovation processes. But how big is this effect? Until now we… Read more
Recent research by economists at the OECD presents a new perspective on what drives national productivity growth. This presents a challenge to the emphasis of current UK policy on world-leading innovation. The OECD start by recognising that in every world economy there are some ‘frontier firms’ which are internationally competitive and match global high standards… Read more