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New Report Released on Business Innovation

New Report Released on Business Innovation

Sixty-eight percent of New Zealand businesses introduced an innovation in the three years ended June 2001, according to Innovation in New Zealand, a new report published by Statistics New Zealand with assistance from the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.

The rate of innovation increased with business size. Eighty percent of large firms (those with 50 or more full-time employees) introduced an innovation, compared with 66 percent of small firms (those with 6 to 19.5 full-time employees). The manufacturing sector had the highest rate of innovation in the economy (79 percent of firms).

Competitor benchmarking emerged as the most important source of information and ideas for innovative firms (85 percent). Books, trade journals, conferences and shows (81 percent); and industry and employer associations (62 percent) were also important sources. Sixty-one percent of innovative businesses invested in machinery and equipment related to the introduction of new or significantly improved products or processes, while over 50 percent of innovators conducted employer training related to the introduction of innovations.

The single largest obstacle identified by New Zealand businesses to developing new or significantly improved products was the nature of the economic climate (29 percent).

Lack of access to capital was identified as another significant barrier (27 percent).

Seventeen percent of innovators used copyrights or trademarks to protect their innovations, while another common form of intellectual property protection was supply agreements (15 percent).

An innovation is the result of new or recent developments or applications in science, technology or other knowledge areas, or the result of new combinations of existing technology. For the purposes of the Innovation in New Zealand report, an innovation did not have to be new to the market, but rather new to a firm.

Innovation in New Zealand is the second in a series of three reports to be produced from the Business Practices Survey (BPS) conducted in June 2001. The BPS was jointly funded by the Ministry of Economic Development; the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology; and Statistics New Zealand. The first report, Information Technology Use in New Zealand, was published on 30 May 2002, while the third report, focusing on management practices, will be published in early 2003.

The report is now available free on the Statistics New Zealand website, A printed version of the report is available on request for a cost of $35.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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