Innovation Indicator

Politicians and public bureaucrats want to foster innovation. But it is difficult to measure inventiveness and innovation by quantitative means. The quantity of patents is a meaningless replacement found in many statistics and leads to patent inflation policies.

There are three types of lies - lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Patents as an innovation indicator

Survey on the approach of measuring innovativeness by number of patents:
Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey

Full text (of an early draft, it seems) as pdf: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3301.v5.pdf

Stuart Ritchie's Eupaco-1 presentation: http://media.ffii.org/Eupaco1/slides/09-StuartRitchie-PCG.ppt

Some Thoughts

  • Meaningful innovation always sidetracks existing markets. It is easier to monitor these structural changes.
  • Innovation requires creative minds.
  • Early adopters are always worth to watch. Book seller and technology hunter Tim O'Reilly coined the concept of "alpha geeks".
  • Lobbyists of large corporations are probably not very close to the frontier.