This paper provides an overview of the main patterns of innovation and characteristics of innovating businesses using data from the 2003 and 2005 ABS Innovation Surveys. It provides additional tables providing greater details of possible analytical interest compared to those published in 'Innovation in Australian Businesses, 2005 (ABS Cat. No. 8158.0)'. It also compares the latest data with some of the results contained in an earlier study (which used 2003 Innovation Survey data) jointly published by the ABS and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR). This study was published in January 2006 (ABS Cat. No. 8163.0).
The reference period for the 2003 Innovation Survey was the three calendar years 2001 to 2003. In contrast, in the 2005 survey the reference period is the two calendar years 2004 to 2005. For purposes of comparability, this study uses modelled estimates of innovation proportions from the 2003 survey based on the calendar years 2002 to 2003. The modelled estimates have only been used at aggregated levels and as a result, the comparisons are carried out for broad categories of innovation.
This publication presents innovation estimates that relate to innovating businesses, that is, it excludes innovation that has been abandoned by the business or is classed as being incomplete during the reference period. The reason for this approach is that it allows for direct comparison between innovation estimates derived from the 2005 Innovation Survey and the 2003 Innovation Survey, where abandoned or incomplete innovation was not collected.
The number of businesses estimated as being in scope of the ABS Innovation Survey 2005 at 31 December 2005 was approximately 141,300. This compares to around 135,800 businesses estimated as being in scope of the 2003 Innovation Survey. Estimates relating to the number of counts of businesses can be derived from many sources within the ABS. As a result, care should be taken when using the estimates to take account of changes in scope and coverage between different surveys and variations which may be due to sampling and non-sampling error.
In 2002, the ABS with strong support from government departments, made the decision to conduct a broad based innovation survey. An Innovation Technical Reference Group involving government agencies with a policy interest in innovation and users of innovation data was established in 2003 to assist the ABS develop the conceptual framework, scope, coverage and potential analytical uses of the innovation survey. The 2003 Innovation Survey was the result of this effort. This survey was the first broad innovation survey conducted by the ABS.
The ABS conducted another innovation survey in 2005. This survey was largely based on the content of the 2003 survey, but introduced some improvements to the design of the questionnaire to improve the reliability of the estimates and lessen provider load. Following on from the 2005 survey, the ABS is now collecting biennial business innovation data using the ABS Business Characteristics Survey (BCS) which combines a range of business characteristics data. In addition, the BCS is an important source of data for the ABS Business Longitudinal Database (BLD) and the BLD will provide users with the ability to conduct longitudinal analyses of business innovation along with other business characteristics. The BCS 2006-07 will be the first time that detailed innovation data is collected from this vehicle and outputs from this survey are expected to be released progressively from mid 2008.