An expanded innovation monitoring program

Understanding innovation and its effectiveness ultimately comes down to analysis and measurement. The Hunter Valley Research Foundation (HVRF) and Central Coast Research Foundation have been conducting research into the extent of firm innovation throughout the Hunter and Central Coast since early 2009.

The data collected to date provides a useful base-line. Nevertheless, extension of this research is needed to further develop the results into a useful policy and monitoring tool. An Expanded Innovation Monitoring Program specifically focused on the Central Coast would complement the other three proposed programs and in doing so further assist innovation in the region. Such a research program would identify:
  • the extent to which different types of innovative activity are prevalent (new or improved products and services, organisational and managerial change, use of new technology, implementation of new and improved processes and new marketing strategies)
  • factors associated with innovation and different types of innovation
  • factors which are associated with non-innovative firms
  • level of investment in research and development and the extent of collaboration with universities and other research and development partners
  • use by businesses of Government programs, services and funding
  • extent of collaboration with others in the same industry (suppliers, customers and other stakeholders in business enterprises)
  • degree to which innovative activity contributes to both economic and non-economic outcomes for the relevant enterprise.

 

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There is no regional Central Coast research and monitoring currently available which addresses these questions. There is also very little research available, more broadly, which measures in a comprehensive way the real outputs of innovative activity. A research program which addresses these questions will have the added benefit of raising awareness, interest and promote collaboration and discussion. The three components of the Innovation Plan, the Broker/Champion Program, the Cluster Program and the Gazelle Program are unique to any other region trying to assist regional development. The proposed research and monitoring program will therefore have two main elements:
  1. Provide action research and monitoring of the Broker/Champions Program, the Cluster Program and the Gazelle Program to assess their effectiveness and to provide a visual innovation capability statement of the region
  2. Provide an extension and refinement to the Central Coast innovation survey (300 businesses) with substantial reporting of innovation outcomes and impediments including recommendations for the way forward
These outputs will enable the further development of our understanding of regional innovation, its drivers and impediments. It will add to our understanding of the ways to develop innovation building resources and initiatives, and promote robust innovation cultures within regions. The Expanded Innovation Monitoring Program is expected to commence in May 2012 with the launch of the Champion/Broker Summit.