Government Funding Agencies
Many innovation enablers would not exist were it not for
government support and funding. Some, such as those that conduct
research or technology development activities and those that work
in economically-challenged regions, rely on significant and ongoing
support. But even innovation enablers that are largely
self-financing, such as industry associations, may rely on
government funding for specific initiatives.
While governments recognize the important role of innovation
enablers, they are accountable to their citizens and must ensure
that public funds are invested wisely. To ensure that their
investments in innovation enablers provide the greatest possible
value for their citizens, governments need to distinguish between
innovation enablers that are effective and those that are not, and
to promote improvements in innovation enabler effectiveness. And to
be able to demonstrate the impact of their investments in
innovation enablers to their constituencies, governments need
access to evidence of innovation enabler impact.
In the past it has been difficult for governments to decide
which innovation enablers to support because there has been no
general measure of innovation enabler performance. While in the
private sector investors use financial metrics to assess the
performance of firms before choosing where to invest, the lack of a
general measure of innovation enabler performance means that
governments have had to choose where to invest without being able
to compare the performance of different organizations. To make
investments in innovation enablers based on merit, governments need
a general measure of innovation enabler performance.
Business people and citizens in general want governments to
provide evidence of the impact of their investments in innovation.
This is difficult to do because of time lags between investment and
impact, spillover benefits that are hard to trace, and because
should success be achieved, it may be hard to identify its
causes. Providing evidence of the link between investments in
innovation enablers and the impact of those investments requires an
approach that captures multiple types of impact that may occur at
different points in time, and is able to distinguish between
innovation enabler contributions to impact and those of other
The Evidence Network's solution
The Evidence Network provides government funders of innovation
enablers with measures for innovation enabler performance. This
allows governments to compare alternative investments and create a
level playing field on which innovation enablers compete for funds
on the basis of merit. Governments can then fund the highest
performing innovation enablers, just as private sector investors
invest the most funds in the most profitable firms.
Our measures of innovation enabler performance also allow
governments to monitor the degree to which innovation enablers are
adding value over the lifetime of the government funding.
Government funders can request annual reports of the performance of
the innovation enablers in which they have invested, just as
private shareholders receive annual reports from the firms in which
they have invested.
Finally, we provide governments with evidence of the impact of
their investments in innovation enablers that can be used to help
citizens understand the importance of such investments.