Press release

Press release March 13 - English

Innobarometer 2002: innovative European business managers build on skills and dynamic markets

Brussels, 13 March 2003

European companies continue to invest in new products and services despite often difficult economic conditions, reports the 2002 Innobarometer poll. 3,000 EU managers were interviewed in September 2002 on their companies' innovative performance. They relate progress in innovation above all to the qualifications and professionalism of their staff and consider the opportunities provided by the EU's internal market as a decisive advantage for innovation.

Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said: «Europe's most valuable economic resource is its people, and the skills that they have. Their ability to innovate across the whole range of entrepreneurial activity is vital to sustain and improve Europe's overall competitiveness and growth.»

According to Innobarometer 2002, staff skills and knowledge, as well as the potential offered by the European dimension of innovative markets, are key factors in innovation performance.


:: Managers attribute their companies' strength in innovation primarily (49%) to the qualifications and professionalism of their staff.

:: European business leaders consider the role of markets that are open to innovative products even more important than they did in 2001. One manager out of two now says that access to innovative customers and/or markets is the most important unsatisfied need relating to innovation.

:: The majority of managers expect that innovation will benefit in the coming years from EU single market rules, which they expect to open up new markets.

:: The share of investment that companies channel into innovation has grown since 2001 to average over 25%. The leaders here are the manufacturing sector, with 32% of investment devoted on average to innovation, exporting and "younger" companies.

:: From 2001 to 2002, enterprises in the European Union slowly but continuously strengthened their innovation activities. The share of new or renewed products or services introduced within the last two years accounts now on average for 22% of companies' turnover, up 2 points from the previous survey.

Highly innovative European firms are found most frequently amongst exporting companies, younger enterprises and the industrial sector. They seem well placed to build on the opportunities offered in the coming years by the existing markets of the European Union as well as by the enlargement.

Background information

The Innobarometer survey is designed to complement the more deeply researched Innovation Scoreboard, but remains essentially an opinion poll rather than a formal data-gathering exercise.

The poll was carried out between 9 and 30 September 2002 by Gallup Europe in the 15 EU Member States using the Flash Eurobarometer telephone polling system.

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