Innovation Analytics: A guide to new data and measurement in innovation policy

A look at novel methods to improve measurement of innovation and growth in the modern economy.

Nesta has been practising a number ways to improve uses of data and measurement for innovation policy. This short report acts as a summary of our recent work in this area.

Key findings

  • Tools for measuring economic phenomena do not always make it easy for policymakers to answer important questions about innovation.
  • From better use of conventional statistics to trialling methods in machine learning, at Nesta we’ve been working with a number of partners for several years to make the most of available and new data sources.
  • Data needs to be useful and insightful to policy makers. This includes trialling methods in mashing and merging datasets, and presenting them in interactive ways.

Our work is divided into three areas. First, we are working with official data to measure new industries in a more accurate way. Second, we have been examining the potential of novel data sources and techniques to measure business innovation. Third, we have been exploring new ways that policymakers can visualise and interact with data.

The report finishes by presenting six case studies with more specific detail about our methods for measuring, collecting, presenting and using data.

We are actively looking for partners in this ambitious programme of work. We welcome potential collaborators, including anyone looking to share interesting data, to discuss policy-relevant research questions, or to fund new projects using these methods.

For any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at [email protected].


Theo Bass

Theo Bass

Theo Bass

Senior Researcher, Government Innovation

Theo was a Senior Researcher in Nesta's Research, Analysis and Policy Team

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