April 1, 2019
Improving Innovation Indicators – IRU response
The Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science is undertaking a review of innovation metrics “to develop a suite of metrics that more fully capture innovation and thereby support better decision-making in Australia”.
The IRU has submitted its response, saying it supports the key messages outlined from the targeted consultations and questions the validity of international innovation performance rankings based on composite measures (e.g. the Global Innovation Index and the World Competitiveness Index).
The IRU believes Australia’s strength in key product export sectors (mining, agriculture) are lost in composite measures that aggregate performance across all industries. They also say little about trends in innovation performance.
The IRU has said the challenge for the Review is to identify existing and potential metrics that are domestically relevant and internationally comparable. Achieving both will be difficult because the most relevant metrics tend to be fine-grained and require considerable contextual understanding. However, the idea of a roadmap for how to understand and improve performance (particularly in key industries), rather than simply benchmark, may prove fruitful and there is scope for refining existing metrics to support these purposes.