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