Mapping the Innovative Profile of a Society Using a General Population Survey

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 11:05
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Manuel FERNANDEZ ESQUINAS, CSIC-Spanish Council for Scientific Research, Spain
Madelon VAN OOSTROM, Tenerife Science & Technology Park, Spain
Innovation is usually understood as the process of transforming knowledge and resources into value. Most of the approaches that study the innovation capacities of societies, as the so-called ‘the innovation system framework’, usually focus on the organizational and institutional structures that shape innovation. They recognize the importance of culture and informal institutions, although these approaches seldom consider other influential aspects at the societal level.    

Our main point of departure is that innovation is a kind of intentional action closely interlinked with values that are situated in the specific social relations of people. For understanding the innovation capacities of a given society is necessary to take into account aspects of social life that have implications for generating and mobilizing knowledge and resources that may have socioeconomic implications.

In this paper we present the results of an exploratory study on the values, attitudes and behaviors related to innovation at country level. A general population survey representative of the Spanish society specifically designed for the purpose has been used (n=2400 face-to-face interviews).

We consider several dimensions related to innovation that can be observed through a general population survey: consumption of innovative products, entrepreneurship, attitudes to work, and attitudes to studies and learning. According to these dimensions, firstly we develop a typology of people and interpret the meaning of the resulting social categories as different degrees of ‘innovation propensity’. Afterwards we explore the profile of the different types of people regarding their general social values and socioeconomic conditions. The analysis shows the important influence that both social structure and culture may have on behaviors related to innovation. The conclusions highlight the convenience to use sociological categories when analyzing innovation systems in addition to organizational structures and formal institutions.