Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation
This page provides information about OECD work on innovation surveys and indicators. The OECD has played a key role in the development of international guidelines for surveys of business innovation (Oslo Manual) and the design of indicators constructed with data from such surveys. In addition to developing methodological guidance, the OECD also carries out analytical studies using innovation-related indicators and microdata. This work is guided by the OECD Working Party of National Experts on Science & Technology Indicators (NESTI).
The current edition of the Oslo Manual identifies four types of innovation:
Product innovation: the introduction of a good or service that is new or significantly improved with respect to its characteristics or intended uses. This includes significant improvements in technical specifications, components and materials, incorporated software, user friendliness or other functional characteristics.
Process innovation: the implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method. This includes significant changes in techniques, equipment and/or software.
Marketing innovation: the implementation of a new marketing method involving significant changes in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing.
Organisational innovation: the implementation of a new organisational method in the firm’s business practices, workplace organisation or external relations.
Despite a gradual process of harmonisation based on the Oslo Manual, national innovation surveys still have some significant differences in methodology and design. Regarding the survey forms, this includes the sequencing and wording of questions, the types of variables (e.g. categorical vs. numerical), the filtering of firms throughout the questionnaire, etc. Regarding survey design and methodology, this includes the choice of the target population, the length of the reference period, data collection and processing methods, etc.