It’s quite technical. Working with the data science firm Growth Intelligence, we combine rich administrative info with media text and machine learning to develop new measures of firm-level innovation — specifically, launches of new products and services. We show that these both complement existing measures (like patents and trademarks) but do better on various fronts. This is important, as measuring innovation is hard to do, especially ‘downstream’ activity as ideas diffuse out into society. Better measurement can help drive better policy.
We then test links from launches to SME productivity. We’re able to distinguish between more or less important launches, using the number of media mentions as a proxy. We find that launches, especially high-profile ones and those in the service sector, help explain differences in SME performance.
Anna’s written a great blog on the paper for the LSE Business Review.
AND … we’ve just started a new UKRI-funded project on mapping future technology production and diffusion, which will push these ideas a lot further. We’ll be working with Mirko Draca, Anna Valero, Shengxing Zhang and data scientists from Tech Nation and CognitionX. Watch this space!