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What can we learn about the innovation performance of the creative industries from the UK innovation survey?

In this paper we consider how the innovation processes used by creative industries businesses compare with those used in other sectors.

Key findings

  1. The UK innovation survey 2017 emphasises the importance of innovation in the creative industries, with firms investing heavily and achieving levels of innovation above those in other services sectors.
  2. In some cases, like R&D, the level of innovation is comparable with manufacturing.This is in marked contrast to what traditional statistics on R&D spend by UK companies imply, pointing to a disconnect between how R&D activity is perceived by creative businesses themselves and what the official statistics capture – an area of current debate (Bakhshi and Lomas, 2017).
  3. Organisational and process innovation prove to be most common types of innovation for creative industries business.
  4. Firms in the creative industries seek to protect their innovations using a range of both formal and strategic intellectual property protection strategies. Copyright is particularly important.

The UK’s creative industries are a national strength. They account for £91.8 billion of Gross Value Added (GVA) or 5.3 per cent of the whole economy. Consistent with this, the creative industries have been prioritised by the Government in its Industrial Strategy and have negotiated a sector deal.

Labour productivity in the creative industries tends also to be higher than in other sectors when comparing firms of equal size. However, a full account of productivity in the creative industries, and an assessment of what public policy can do to support it, requires a better understanding of how innovation happens in the creative industries, and if and how this differs from other sectors.

In this analysis we use data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) latest innovation survey (wave 9), which covers a wide range of indicators capturing firms’ innovation processes in different sectors over the three-year period (2012-2014).

Conclusions from the analysis include:

  1. The UK innovation survey emphasises the importance of innovation in the creative industries, with firms investing heavily and achieving levels of innovation above those in other services sectors.
  2. In some cases, like R&D, the level of innovation is comparable with manufacturing. This is in marked contrast to what traditional statistics on R&D spend by UK companies imply, pointing to a disconnect between how R&D activity is perceived by creative businesses themselves and what the official statistics capture – an area of current debate (Bakhshi and Lomas, 2017).
  3. Organisational and process innovation prove to be most common types of innovation for creative industries business.
  4. Firms in the creative industries seek to protect their innovations using a range of both formal and strategic intellectual property protection strategies. Copyright is particularly important.

Authors

Stephen Roper

Stephen is Professor of Enterprise at Warwick Business School and Director of the Enterprise Research Centre.

Areti Gkypali

Areti is a Research Fellow at the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC).