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A 21st century campaign to map innovative capability across the world

Mapmaking has helped people understand and navigate the world since ancient times. Now, in the 21st century, we can explore the exciting world of innovation that drives economies and societies forward.

Big Innovation Centre is drawing a new type of map that shifts focus from the measurement of characteristics such as latitude and longitude to the measurement of the innovation landscape. Historic explorers first travelled across unknown lands, then public and private organizations mapped our world at the street level using advanced satellites, and now Google has created the ‘street views’ in photos.

We are now able to harness the power of the internet and data analytics to ask each person in each organization – whether public, private, big or small – what they think of their organization’s innovation profile.

A stronger innovation data set

The problem with existing innovation business data sets is that they are collected with the assumption that a ‘right person’ within the organization is fully representative of their organization when they fill in a survey. But, as with all maps, it is the collective picture which matters. The innovation profile of organizations is based upon the collective views of its people – those who make it happen, from the most senior to the most junior.

Also, existing innovation data sets hardly look beyond traditional science, technology, product or service innovation perspectives, such as number of patents or R&D spend. But this Big Innovation Map also focuses on organizations’ innovative capability in the areas of business model strategy and innovative ways of managing cost efficiency. The focus is also on the innovativeness of the people within an organization, and how well an organization adapts to change. Finally, how innovatively an organization exploits its network and how it has an impact on society and the economy are also key.

No data set is perfect, but we are confident that the quality and use of our innovation data will eclipse existing data sets in terms of mapping the innovative capability of organizations, outreach and collection methodology (compared, for example, to the EU's community innovation survey (CIS) or the OECD’s Oslo manual, used by authorities, academics and international organizations).

A data set of higher user value

The need for the Big Innovation Audit sprang from the work of Big Innovation Centre with the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to develop innovation diagnostic tools to map the UK’s innovative sectors and places or hotspots.

The need to create an innovation data set relevant for businesses, local councils, universities, funding bodies and other organizations, as opposed to merely focusing on data relevant for policy makers as with current innovation data sets, is key to this campaign.

The mapping campaign starts in Britain and will continue to cover the rest of the world!

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