IBM study finds New Zealand continued to innovate in challenging global financial environment

Local Research & Development spending supports three per cent increase in innovation from 2007 - 2011

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Auckland, New Zealand - 29 May 2013: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today released the 2013 IBM Innovation Index of New Zealand, a multi-indicator study tracking the shape and rate of local innovation from 2007 to 2011. New Zealand’s overall innovation rate increased three per cent in the four years to 2011, bolstered by increased spending on Research & Development (R&D) during the global financial crisis. This investment balanced static Business Innovation results and a fall in Intellectual Property registrations.

The IBM Innovation Index combines official data on Research and Development (R&D), Business Innovation and Intellectual Property to present a detailed view of innovation performance by industry.

The Index shows that local R&D expenditure grew strongly - at an average rate of 7.6 per cent per annum - between 2007 and 2011, largely driven by the public sector. The equivalent of 4,600 full-time R&D jobs were created during this period. However, when the economy started to recover during 2011-12, the growth in R&D expenditure slowed to an average of 3.7 per cent per annum. As a result, New Zealand’s R&D intensity (the proportion of Gross Domestic Product spent on R&D) remains low compared to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) economies.

“Increasing investment in R&D during the global recession buoyed our overall innovation rate, but we are yet to catch up to comparable nations’ innovation intensity. Seeing business spend more on R&D is a positive sign, and extra collaboration across New Zealand’s domestic and international innovation ecosystems is required to take this research to market,” says Dougal Watt, IBM New Zealand’s Chief Technology Officer.

Although private sector R&D spending increased after 2010, the overall rate of Business Innovation reported by companies remains flat. Business Innovation reflects improvements in goods and services, business operations, organisational strategy and marketing. Of these, only the marketing measure showed a positive change as more companies introduced new and improved methods to increase the appeal of goods and services.

“Overall Business Innovation remained consistent, however it would be preferable for this to also increase as transforming areas like supply chain processes, or creating new goods and services are necessary to commercialise the results of R&D,” concluded Mr Watt.

By using the IBM Innovation Index data visualisation tool available at, organisations can ‘drill down’ into 18 industries to see what is driving changes in innovation over time.

For example, in Financial and Insurance Services, overall innovation fell one per cent from 2007 to 2011 despite a five-fold increase in R&D in between 2008 – 2011. This is because Intellectual Property registrations, a more significant contributor to innovation in this industry, also fell.

"The 2013 IBM Innovation Index data visualisation tool lets you clearly see how much and in what areas New Zealanders are innovating. And as innovation is a key driver of long term economic growth, the Index gives us a glimpse into our economic future," says Professor Shaun Hendy from Callaghan Innovation.

Key findings from the 2013 IBM Innovation Index of New Zealand include:

R&D employs 50,000 New Zealanders

Private sector R&D on the increase

Applied R&D is thriving

Business Innovation remained steady

Overall, Intellectual Property registrations fell


About the Index

The 2013 IBM Innovation Index uses a weighted composite of Statistics New Zealand and Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) data to illustrate the relative importance of 12 kinds of innovation across 18 different industries, including public and private sectors.  The full methodology is available at

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