Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Irish businesses feel the recession has made us more innovative, according to KPMG’s Innovation Monitor 2012, which was launched at the Dublin Web Summit on Wednesday 17 October. The survey also revealed that more than four in five (81 percent) of businesses think Ireland is either more innovative or the same as other countries.
However, we don’t seem to give ourselves much credit on the global scale – only five percent of our respondents think Ireland is the most innovation-friendly country in the world; the USA came in first place among 34 percent of respondents.
Speaking at the launch, KPMG partner Ken Hardy said: “The intense competition for investment and jobs means that we need to constantly review the appetite for innovation in Irish business and do what we can to make the environment as innovation-friendly as possible.”
Hardy continues: “The benefits of innovation are clear – new jobs, delivering new products, developing new markets and improving our competitiveness by clever ways of reducing costs, for example – but we need to constantly review incentives and financial support for R&D to ensure Ireland can compete internationally.”
Collaboration for Innovation
More than half of all businesses (52 percent) feel there isn’t enough information available for companies wanting to collaborate with academic partners on an innovation project. As a result, less than one in six companies (16 percent) is currently doing so. Large companies are more than twice as likely as small companies to collaborate on an innovation project, most likely due to the time and resources required to locate a partner and manage the relationship.
Room for Improvement?
More than half (55 percent) of survey participants feel that the government isn’t doing enough to nurture and help innovation in Irish business. The majority of those respondents feel that more financial incentives are needed. In fact, four of the top five suggestions relate to finance. Cutting red tape, easing the administrative burden on claiming the R&D tax credit and R&D grants, and encouraging banks to lend were some of the more common responses received.
The Innovators – Who’s Doing it and Why?
When it comes to a company making the decision to innovate, the most influential factor is the availability of qualified in-house personnel, according to almost three in five (58 percent) respondents. This is by far the most influential factor among large companies. Small and medium businesses, on the other hand, give almost as much weight to the availability of grant funding as qualified personnel. Two in three (65 percent) Irish businesses in Ireland describe themselves as currently innovative, though small companies are more than twice as likely to be planning innovation projects as currently undertaking them.
Financing Innovation – R&D Tax Credit and Grants
According to the survey, financing is the most significant factor in completing successful innovation projects, with 87 percent of Irish businesses feeling it is important. Large companies are more likely to be receiving R&D grants and claiming the R&D tax credit than small companies. Rather worryingly, only one in five (20 percent) companies thinks there is sufficient information available on R&D and innovation funding, and approximately 28 percent of those that don’t claim the credit could probably do so.
The Measure of Success
When it comes to measuring the success of an innovation project, more than half (56 percent) of businesses use revenue growth as a key metric. This was a common answer across small, medium and large companies. Market share and project-dedicated return on investment were listed second and third respectively, with only five percent of respondents listing patents as a traditional metric for measurement success.
Download the full report: Innovation Monitor: Insights into Innovation & R&D in Ireland