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The Swedish Innovation Paradox Revisited: A Discussion about Measurement Problems
Södertörn University, School of Business Studies, Business studies.
Södertörn University, School of Business Studies, Business studies.
Södertörn University, School of Business Studies, Business studies.
Södertörn University, School of Business Studies, Business studies.
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2012 (English)In: Entrepreneurship and innovation networks: revised papers presented at the 15th Uddevalla Symposium, 14-16 June, 2012, Faro, Portugal / [ed] Irene Bernhard, Trollhättan: University West , 2012, 95-110 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The literature in the field of innovation lacks clear definitions of how to classify different types of innovations and how they are operationalized and measured. This can create problems when innovation policies are developed.

Recent responses to the Swedish paradox (Granberg and Jacobsson, 2006; McKelvey et al. 2007) – where investments in knowledge and R&D not in a corresponding manner contributes to innovations and economic growth – states that measurement problems may be the answer to the existence of this paradox. Innovations are often measured by number of patents, patent citations and R&D expenditures.

In this paper we primarily focus on the number of patent applications as proxy for innovation to provide better information for decision making and research.

The study consists of two empirical parts. One focusing on data covering the Swedish security industry and data on patents applications. The other part is a qualitative study where managers are interviewed about innovativeness within their company. This allows us to find innovations that are not showing in the patent data.

Our study showed that major innovations were often introduced from other industries – implemented by large dominating companies – and they were seldom patented. Our quantitative data indicates a lower level of innovation that arguably could be assumed to be the case judging from our qualitative data which includes a number of unpatented innovations. Notwithstanding considerable measurement problems, it seems that the Swedish security industry is characterised by high growth in terms of number of firms but a relatively modest amount of patented innovations. Major innovations have rather come from other industries, or have not been patented and therefore they are not captured in statistics when using patent as a proxy for innovation. This study provides empirics from the Swedish security industry that indicates these claims.

With this paper we want to provide a basis for discussion about the use of patent statistics as an indicator of innovation. We also suggest that the usage of patents as a proxy for innovations need to be further discussed and elaborated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trollhättan: University West , 2012. 95-110 p.
Research reports / University West, ISSN 1653-7831 ; 2012:02
Keyword [en]
Innovation, measurement of innovation, patent, service industry
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-18664ISBN: 978-91-977943-4-3 (print)OAI: diva2:611741
15th Uddevalla Symposium, Faro, 14-16 June, 2012.
Available from: 2013-03-18 Created: 2013-03-18 Last updated: 2016-10-03Bibliographically approved

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