A post by Nordine Es-Sadki.
The Community Innovation Survey (CIS) is the reference survey on innovation in enterprises. The EU Member States first introduced the survey in 1992; since then, it has become the regular biennial data collection. UNU-MERIT’s Anthony Arundel has been involved in the early stages of the CIS’s development and was later joined by other UNU-MERIT colleagues. Since 2004 our Institute has been the main contractor to Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, assigned to design the biannual CIS survey by developing new questions and testing these in the field. The final harmonised versions of the CIS were developed in collaboration with Eurostat and National Statistical Office representatives. Former UNU-MERIT researchers Adriana van Cruysen, Catalina Bordoy and Can Huang worked together with Anthony Arundel on CIS waves from 2004 to 2010. From 2012 onwards, Hugo Hollanders and Nordine Es-Sadki became involved.
All of this work has led to an extensive collection of questions on different topics related to innovation. These questions have now been released in a handy tool, the CIS Living Library. This online platform provides an overview of all questions used in any CIS rounds since 1992. Its intended users are data professionals, researchers, and academia, through to designers of innovation surveys.
The Living Library allows browsing by themes, such as innovation topics or questions, as well as by questionnaires (survey rounds). The work of designing the living library started in 2018 with coordination from Gregor Kyi from Eurostat and in collaboration with Nordine Es-Sadki, Hugo Hollanders and Christian Rammer from ZEW. More recently, PhD fellow Cecilia Seri has provided crucial input to the CIS Living Library by originating the idea of the overview matrix.
Measuring innovation in firms for analysing the determinants and impacts of innovation activities has traditionally been done using R&D and patent data. But these measurements do not provide the whole picture as many innovations are not based on R&D, and not all patents result in an innovation. Dedicated firm surveys on innovation were developed in the 1990s as an alternative approach for measuring innovation. Statistics on business innovation play a fundamental role in examining the competitiveness of economies and the welfare of societies. Collecting evidence of innovation is a challenge as powerful demands for different kinds of statistical output on innovation, ranging from timely key indicators needed for policy purposes to detailed data open to sophisticated research. Choosing which information to collect and in what manner is critical for making innovation data available that is impartial and objective. In fulfilling the needs and expectations of users for innovation data, one has to assess the relevance of the suggested and collected information. On the one hand, relevance needs to be assessed on how innovation statistics can report on new phenomena in a changing world, which calls for flexibility and responsiveness. On the other hand, there is a clear policy demand to measure and track the competitiveness of enterprises across countries in a comparable manner.
The CIS has become even more relevant in recent years as it is the primary source of internationally comparable innovation statistics and indicators for the European Union Member States and for other European countries. CIS data are used in a range of European Commission (EC) reports, national government research documents, and by academics in research papers on innovation. One of these is the European Innovation Scoreboard, in which UNU-MERIT has been involved since its inception in 2000, with the current involvement of researchers Hugo Hollanders, Nordine Es-Sadki and Aishe Khalilova. Moreover, for the same reasons outlined above, many non-European countries also run innovation surveys and often follow the CIS model.