The Sociological Dimensions of Innovation Indicators

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Diego SILVA, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil
Andre FURTADO, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil
In front of the recent scenario of diffused production of science, technology and innovation (ST&I) indicators we should question the real meaning and power of these statistics.  For this purpose, the field of sociology of statistics must be centrally considered. Several authors from this field stress the idea that statistics conjugate knowledge and power, since they are a way to produce knowledge and a source of power in rhetoric. It happens because statistics have a hidden social side, once all the statistics are designed based on theoretical models that involves different conceptual choices and measurement interests. Therefore, we sustain the need to analyze the ST&I indicators from a sociological point of view in order to better understand their limits and reaches. The objective of this paper is to discuss the social aspects underlying the design and use of innovation indicators. Such indicators, as well as any other statistics, are the social outcome of theoretical understandings and measurement interests at the same time that their use influence the perception of social reality framing the various understandings and interests. Methodologically we ground our analysis in an extensive bibliographical review and documental survey seeking to establish a fruitful dialogue between the fields of innovation studies and sociology of statistics. To reach our goal of understand in depth the historical evolution of innovation indicators, we will work on four complementary steps. Firstly, we will explore the discussion about the present relevance of statistics in the governance of social phenomena. Secondly, we will highlight the particularities of ST&I indicators within the debates on sociology of statistics. Thirdly, we will present the theoretical models of measurement that historically grounded the design and use of innovation indicators. Finally, we will retrace the historical path from the measurement of science and technology (S&T) to the measurement of innovation.