Who cares about innovation? The answer depends on what sort of innovation you’re talking about, and to what end. This report looks at the UK public's attitudes to innovation.
Nesta worked with ComRes to survey how the UK public views innovation, based on attitudes to technology, risk and pace of change. We found that:
- Most people in the UK are positive about innovation, but attitudes towards it depend on how it is described.
- The research identified one in five people who are fans of innovation as a concept, the Innovation Futurists. It is arguably this group that most innovation policy communication is currently focused on.
- Two other groups, the Innovation Realists and the Innovation Creatives, represent over half the population. These two groups are favourable to innovation as long as it’s described in terms of tangible improvements to their lives, rather than its own sake. Reaching these groups offers a much wider base of support for innovation policy.
- The public believes that the biggest priorities for more innovation are healthcare, energy, agriculture and education, but this is not reflected in current public spending, which prioritises defence spending and the pharmaceutical industry.
- There is strong support for public spending on innovation, with 70 per cent of the population rating the current level of spending as about right or too little.
The research also contains findings about how the public views Britain’s position in the world and the role of the Government in promoting innovation.
The work pulls together online surveys of over 6,000 UK adults and face-to-face focus groups with over 100 people in six locations across the country. Nesta commissioned ComRes to undertake the research. Full tables of the data can be found online at www.ComRes.co.uk
Jen Rae, Stian Westlake, Louise Marston