The Innobarometer is an annual opinion poll of businesses or general public on attitudes and activities related to innovation policy.
The Innobarometer is conducted as part of the Eurobarometer series. It provides policy relevant information direct from business or the general public which is not available from other sources.
Intangible assets are increasingly recognised as playing an important role in the growth of developed economies, although their impact has been identified as difficult to quantify.
The 2013 Innobarometer survey was designed to explore companies' investment in a range of intangible assets such as training, software development, reputation and branding, research and development etc.
The survey provides useful information on the kinds of intangibles companies invest in, whether internal or external resources are used, as well as the incentives and barriers to investing in intangible assets. The perceived duration of benefits and the links between innovation projects and investment in intangible assets are also part of the analysis.
The survey covered around 8 500 businesses employing one or more people in the manufacturing, retail, services and industry sectors in the EU and in some countries outside the EU.
The Innobarometer 2013 showed that only around one third of companies reported any investment in tangible assets in their balance sheet for the reference year 2011.
The most common priority for companies in EU27 when investing in intangibles is to obtain tailored, customised solutions. This is followed by the aim to obtain decreasing productions costs.
Overall, in 2011 companies were more likely to have invested using internal rather than external resources for a range of intangible assets. The three activities that are most likely to have had investment using internal resources are business process improvement, training, and company reputation and branding.
Company reputation and branding is the only area where at least half of all companies expect their investment to benefit for at least two years. Slightly less than half of the companies expect the benefit of their investment in R&D to last 2 or more years. Training is considered to have the shortest benefit period.
Coming to the expected benefits of the investment, Better relationships with customers and business partners is the main motivation for investing in intangible assets, whereas high costs are the main discouragement to investing in intangible assets.
When the impact of the investment in intangible assets is investigated, it turns out that the skills and qualifications of employees are seen as the biggest beneficiary - one in five companies says that there has been a lot of benefit, compared to 11% that say this about the overall value of the company.