Innovation Impacts: Measurement and Assessment

It is widely accepted and understood that innovation is critical to economic competitiveness and social progress. To ensure that innovation investments are spent most effectively and remain a priority in the face of public austerity measures, it is essential that decision-makers obtain the most reliable estimates of the impacts of innovation investments. To help prepare for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation asked the Council of Canadian Academies to assess best practices in measuring the socio-economic impacts of government spending on research and innovation activities that could be applied in the Ontario context.    

To conduct the assessment, the Council convened a Panel of 13 Canadian and international experts from diverse fields. Esko Aho, Senior Fellow, Harvard University, Consultative Partner, Nokia Corporation, and former Prime Minister of Finland, chaired the Expert Panel. 

The Panel has developed an authoritative report that catalogues the portfolio of Ontario innovation investments, presents an extensive literature review of measurement methodologies, and explores international best practices in impact assessment.

The report includes:

A new conceptual framework that is helpful for understanding innovation impact measurement and assessment at the program level and within the innovation ecosystem, respectively;

A catalogue of the portfolio of Ontario’s innovation investments;

An extensive academic and public policy literature review of leading-edge measurement methodologies; and

An overview of international best practices for measuring the socio-economic impacts of innovation.

Question

How can the actual and potential outcomes and impacts of Ontario government spending on innovation and scientific activities be measured, including but not limited to the effects on GDP in Ontario, generation and transfer of knowledge; creation of new ventures; and access to seed, development and growth capital?    
 
Sub-questions:

  • Based on the rigorous review of current studies and the identification of the most appropriate evaluation methods, is it feasible to build a model to quantify the returns on innovation investment of the government of Ontario in terms of socio-economic effects such as output, employment, tax, creation of new ventures, development of entrepreneurship and social impacts?
  • How can the returns (socio-economic impacts) on innovation investments by the government of Ontario be defined and evaluated?
    What methods for assessing and quantifying the actual and potential returns on innovation investments are used by other jurisdictions?
    How can these methods be applied to Ontario?
  • Identify Ontario’s areas of strength in innovation and innovation support.    

Report and related products:

Expert Panel

The Expert Panel on the Socio-economic Impact of Innovation Investments was chaired by Mr. Esko Aho, Senior Fellow, Harvard University, Consultative Partner, Nokia Corporation, and former Prime Minister of Finland. For a complete list of panel members visit the Expert Panel on the Socio-economic Impact of Innovation Investments page.

Council Staff and members of the  Expert Panel on the Socio-economic Impact of Innovation Investments

For additional information or media inquiries, please contact:

Samantha Rae Ayoub, Communications and Publishing Director, at 613-567-5000 ext. 256 or samantha.rae@scienceadvice.ca

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