Labor Economist Richard Freeman to Liken New Innovation Measurement to GDP at STEM Enterprise Event at AAAS in June

May 17, 2012, 15:54 ET from IEEE-USA (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leading labor economist Dr. Richard Freeman will liken a new way of measuring innovation to GDP during his keynote address at a STEM measurement workshop in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday 6 June.

Held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, "STEM Enterprise: Measures for Innovation and Competitiveness," is designed to measure the impact and effectiveness of all public, private and academic money spent on research and development in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) area.

Workshop sessions will focus on four main areas: funding, workforce, output measures and indicators, and policy implications. For more information on the all-day event and to register, see

Freeman, a Harvard University professor, contends that the usual methods of assessing innovation, e.g. R&D spending or number of patents granted, are not true measures of innovation, which he defines as "the  creation of improved goods or services, or modes of production that are brought to the marketplace for sale or delivery to consumers, firms or the government."

According to Freeman, the absence of a general quantitative measure of innovation  "mars our ability to analyze the magnitude and direction of innovation and to develop policies to encourage it. I describe a new way of putting together a genuine measure and database of innovations, based on Web-scraping product announcements and lists of top innovations from various industry and other sources that would be the innovation equivalent of GDP [gross domestic product].

"I argue that this is the next key step in social measurement necessary for us to understand the new economics of a knowledge-based economy. I will also talk about some related innovative uses of Internet-based data to produce 'leading indicators' of the direction of science and innovation."

The workshop is organized by IEEE-USA, AIChE, AIME, ASCE and ASME and supported by a grant from the United Engineering Foundation. Cosponsors include AAAS, ASTRA, SME, Thompson Reuters and Northrop Grumman.

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