Janet Halliwell

Janet E. Halliwell
Presentation overview
 The big picture - measuring the return on S&T
investments (ROI)
Context, challenges and issues, variables,
methodologies, trends
Innovation and what our understanding means for
assessing ROI
The data challenge
The ROI context
 Increasing pressure to measure impacts of public S&T
investments (nothing new here!)
 What do researchers tend think about (especially for P&T)?
Inputs (e.g., funding raised)
Research productivity
Numbers of HQP
Perhaps commercialization
 What are institutions most interested in?
 Competitiveness for students, prestige and funds
 Costs - impacts on their bottom line
 What is the larger public interest?
 Quality of the PSE system
 Larger social and economic impacts from R&D and service
ROI measurement challenges
 Very diverse languages and expectations on what is meant by ROI
 No universal framework or universally applied methodologies
 Measurement of ROI needs to encompass diverse dimensions of
 Economic (e.g. jobs, new products and services, spin off companies,
business process change)
 Social and health (e.g. changes in policy and practice, improved
outcomes, costs avoided)
 Environmental (e.g. reduced footprint and environmental impact,
branding Canada green)
 In addition to practical stumbling blocks of measurement of these ,
interpretation of any measures is non-trivial
 And all of the above does not necessarily measure the full impact on
innovation or the innovation system
Some issues
 ROI measurement requires us to think about what happens
down the value chain as a result of the research and
research related activities - beyond the quality, volume and
influence of research on other research – e.g. what
difference did this S&T investment make in the real world
 ROI measurement is NOT a classical economic I/O study
(which measures the flow of monies resulting from an
activity regardless of what that activity is)
 A theoretically-sound ROI method is poor if key
stakeholders are not consulted or don’t understand it
Variables to think about
 Your audience/target
 Scope and level of aggregation
 Distance down the value chain of outputs, outcomes
and impacts
Time scale (how far back)
Desired detail; how to communicate (e.g. visualize)
Balancing accuracy, longevity, comparability and ease
of collection of metrics
Downstream measurment …
 Categories relevant to innovation include (at least):
 Direct – Using research findings for better ideas, products,
processes, policies, practice etc.
 Indirect – From participation in the research, including HQP
training, KT, tacit knowledge, better management, etc.
 Spin-off – Using findings in unexpected ways and fields
 Knock-on – Arising far after the research is done
 Also very important – outcomes that foster an
environment in which innovation flourishes
Example methodologies
 Quantitative
 Surveys
 Bibliometrics, including publication counts, citation analysis, data
mining, international collaboration analysis, social network analysis
 Technometrics, including hotspot patent – publication linkages
 Economic rate of return – micro and macro levels
 Sociometrics
 Benchmarking
 Qualitative
 Peer Review, Merit/Expert Review
 Case study method – exploratory, descriptive, explanatory
 Retrospective documentary analysis
 Interviews
 Mixed models (e.g. Payback, OMS, CAHS)
 Mixed methods
 Increasing attention to networks, linkages,
 Global frame of reference
 Involvement of stakeholders inside and external to
R&D unit
 External focus – e.g. short-term external impacts
for industry or government, rather than immediate
outcomes for the R&D organization
What is innovation?
Doing new things in new ways
Tom Jenkins
 “Innovation” is (or should be) a very broad term, BUT …
 Many studies focus only on the easiest metrics to measure –
not innovation relevant issues
 Or, they focus exclusively on industrial impacts such as sales
of new products
 So ….
 Encourage other routes and types of impacts
 Attempt to measure them, including cost savings
 Encourage “end-goal” thinking
And remember
Innovation comes in many different guises, e.g.
 Incremental innovation
 Integrated innovation
 Open innovation
 Informal innovation
 Social innovation
 Design as innovation
Consider measurement in the innovation context
The macro level messages
 Measurement is important – but NOT just any
Need to ground measurement in a strong conceptual
framework connecting activities  ultimate goals,
intended uses, and both targeted users (logic models)
Then look at relationships of outcomes and impacts with
innovation in your sector or sphere of activity
Measurement is BOTH qualitative and quantitative
Proper measurement often takes deliberate effort and time
Why quantitative and qualitative
 Quantitative for understanding reach, scope, &
importance of impacts
 Qualitative for the how and why of impacts , barriers &
solutions, incrementality and attribution, government,
societal and environmental effects, etc.
 There is no such thing as a purely quantitative system
that measures full impacts of S&T
Reporting SE impacts
Investigated and Described in:
Narrative fashion
Quantitative terms
Dollar terms
And …
 Consider “outcome mapping” a la IDRC – where the
focus is on people and organizations.
 Go beyond simply assessing the products of a
project/program to focus on changes in behaviours,
relationships, actions, and/or activities of the people
and organizations with whom a program works
 This is a learning-based and use-driven approach
 Recognizes the importance of active engagement of
players in adaptation and innovation – “productive
The data challenge (1)
 Need a good MIS at levels of researcher and
project/activity - one that connects with your
Network/Centre goals
 Need to integrate in the MIS the needs of your
reporting requirements, accountability plans and
Centre/Network self monitoring/self-learning
 Tie the MIS to performance measurement system by
having automatic reports produced, red flags etc
 Need a foundation of data standards
The data challenge (2)
 Standards can help:
 Reduce burden on researchers
 Facilitate the interface with funders
 Access cost effective software solutions
 Comparisons with self over time
 Comparisons with other institutions
 International benchmarking
 CASRAI is a large part of the standards picture
Customized and flexible methodologies
 There are plenty of metrics and methods available
 No need to invent any more (although you will likely need to
intensify your data collection)
 It’s how metrics and narrative are used and combined that
make the difference
 No “one size fits all” methods or metrics work for all types of
S&T, for all types of organizations, or for all uses and users
 All methods have substantial strengths and substantial
 Involve key stakeholders
 Remember that innovation requires many players, not just the
R&D team
Measurement can make a difference
 Accountability and advocacy - Making the case on the
basis of outcomes and impacts:
 For overall program funding
 For the nature and dynamics of the staff complement
 Self awareness and understanding:
 Internal - Strengths, weaknesses, gaps
 External – Threats, opportunities
 Forward directions/areas needing attention
 Fine tuning the strategic vision
 Fostering sustainable relationships
Finally …
To achieve these objectives, you need:
 Good (and visionary) governance
 Good management - capable staff complement
 Robust database with in-house expertise
 Active engagement of players in using the outcomes
measures for adaptation and innovation
Measurement is “quantum”– It changes the
system; you tend to get what you ask people to
Thank you
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