Innovation is vital for each country's economic growth. This paper comprises an analysis of the main indicators that characterize innovation activity in Romanian firms. Improving our knowledge of firms’ activities in aspects associated with their behavior related to innovation is important for monitoring the strengths and weaknesses of the national innovation systems. Our study on Romanian firms is based entirely on the published data by Eurostat (the Commission Innovation Survey - CIS), which centralizes data every two years, the last have been published at the end of 2016 (CIS 9) covering the period 2012-2014. From building and analyzing three main types of general innovation indicators related to firms’ innovativeness, including innovation inputs and outputs, our results show that the main weaknesses in business innovation persist over time and they consist of the extremely low share of innovative firms, a low level of business innovation expenditures and a high volatility of innovation performance based on creative effort resulted from R&D activities still concentrated in a few industries.
Innovation is of crucial importance for the modern economy competitiveness, as well as for a high standard of living and welfare. According to OECD (2005, p. 46), innovation can be broadly defined as ”the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method in business practices, workplace organization or external relations”. Improving our knowledge of firms' activities in aspects associated with their behavior related to innovation is important for monitoring the strengths and weaknesses of the national innovation systems. The use of innovation indicators developed on the basis of firms' survey has intensified in the last decade, as they broaden the business analysis framework by taking into account innovation expenditures performed by firms and innovation outputs (with reference, most often, to product innovations expressed by using turnover), comprising also the sources of information used by firms, including their collaboration with various partners, as well as business perceptions on obstacles encountered in their activities. Data such as those provided by the Community Innovation Survey (CIS – Eurostat, EBRD etc.) are of considerable utility to identify innovation determinants and innovative firms' characteristics related to the size and structure of innovation expenditures, the collaboration activities and information used in innovation process, innovation output, and allow comparisons over time by firm's size, by industries and cross-countries comparisons. In this framework, simple (general) innovation indicators can be built using the answers given by firms to a single question, or complex indicators can be elaborated by using answers to several questions (OECD, 2011; Huang et al., 2010; Bloch et al., 2008: Arundel, 2007 etc.) being of importance for government policy focused on stimulating innovation. This paper comprises an analysis of the main innovation indicators that characterize the firms' activity in Romania. Our study is based entirely on the published data by Eurostat (the Commission Innovation Survey - CIS), which centralizes data every two years, the last ones have been published at the end of 2016 (CIS 9) covering the period 2012-2014. Our concern is related to the fact that innovation activities in Romania still lags behind those within most of the EU countries, and the pace of catching up the more advanced economies is very low. These can be reflected in the size of composite innovation indicators such as the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI, reported by the World Economic Forum), the Knowledge Economic Index (measured by the World Bank), the Summary Innovation Index (SII, published by the European Commission) etc. In this respect, we build and analyze three main general groups of innovativeness indicators. Section 2 comprises a first set of indicators referring to shares of innovative firms broadly defined, performing technological (product and/or process) innovation and non-technological (organizational and/pr marketing) innovation, as well as firms that introduced new product innovations. Section 3 contains a descriptive analysis of business innovation inputs, by building a second set of innovation indicators such as business innovation expenditure, share of innovative firms that performed research and development (R&D) activities and collaborative activities of innovative firms. The next group of indicators measure innovation outputs analyzed in section 4, the most common comprising the share of turnover from new-to-firm and new-to market product innovations (as % of turnover) and section 5 concludes.