How to measure business model innovation with CIS data?

The Community Innovation Survey (CIS) which is coordinated by Eurostat and carried out in all EU member states and associated countries has been a rich source of data for many research projects that seek to investigate firms’ innovation activities. Innovation in the CIS is, according to the Oslo Manual of the OECD, categorized as product, process, organizational or marketing innovation. This categorization has been criticized a lot for not adequately reflecting more comprehensive innovation activities such as business model innovation. Business model innovation has received considerable academic attention in the recent past, yet it is notoriously difficult to actually measure the degree to which a firm has innovated its business model. In a new article, which has been published in the 2015 edition of the Advances in Strategic Management series, we seek to bridge the desire to measure business model innovation and the possibilities that CIS data offer. Based on a multi-stage expert rating process, we identified CIS questions that are related to business model innovation. The result is a count variable that sums up the number of components of a business model that were subject to innovation during the survey period. We experimented with more or less strict definitions of components as being relevant for a firm’s business model. While it is certainly not a perfect measure, it is an attempt to apply a new concept to a wealth of data which allows comparisons across time and country.


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