WIN - Analysis of R&D infrastructures in Europe

2008 – This WIN-report discusses the main findings of the research to national innovation systems in which the focus is on workplace innovation, such as in Germany, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The study was carried out by the Finnish partners of WIN.           

   The WORK-IN-NET (WIN) was a Coordination Action (CA, 2005 – 2010) in the    ERA-net and  aimed to collect, analyze and disseminate information on    national activities in the field of innovation. By improving the quality of work    and making more use of the creativity of the employees, Europe can keep up    with the demands of today’s economy. The information was shared with other    Member States of the European Union where workplace innovation is not yet    on the agenda. WORK-IN-NET wanted to reduce economic and social    disparities between European countries.

This study is focused on the infrastructure of R&D on work-oriented innovations. To achieve better results in terms of innovation and performance  in a country, it is of great importance to develop this structure as well as a collaboration between R&D and work organizations. This study makes it clear that this cooperation must be improved, both between R&D and the work organization and between R&D departments of several European countries.

The purpose of this study is to make an analysis of the structure of work-oriented innovations in different countries, with a special focus on R&D. The analysis is divided into two components:
1. The structure of R&D units in the field of innovation
2. Executers of these innovations
The study analyzes the innovation-infrastructure in four countries on the following aspects: 
– government
– ministry
– program
– execution.
The resources of R&D were evaluated by using a questionnaire and there was held a workshop ‘Innovation knows neither borders nor boundaries’. The purpose of the workshop was approaching innovations both at the level of innovation systems and at the level of R&D structures.

R&D units play an essential role in the generation and dissemination of knowledge, since  they apply research-based knowledge in practical work-situations. The analyzes showed that R&D personnel that execute work-oriented innovations often are employed on a project basis and they often have other responsibilities as well. This may result in an uncertain situation. Of the studied countries, the situation is  the best in Norway. It is important to understand the conditions and means of R&D in a country, because this has great impact on the way in which R&D work. The government can play a big role in boosting cooperation between R&D and the work organizations.
The analysis of innovation systems shows that the focus of several countries is still on technological innovations; structures are therefore based on obtaining funds from these institutions. Workplace  innovation plays only a minor role. The challenge here is to get a real chance for workplace innovation and to develop any existing policy on workplace innovation further. 

See the annex for the full article ‘Analysis of R & D Infrastructures or work-oriented innovation; selected European countries’ by E. Ramstad and T. Alasoini (2008)