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Innovation Norway still facing major challenges - Document no. 3:4 (2008-2009)

A substantial proportion of Innovation Norway’s financial means are allocated to projects with a low level of innovation. Innovation Norway has also encountered major challenges in its efforts to integrate the international dimension into all aspects of its work. Among other things, there is little contact between the company’s offices in Norway and abroad. ‘A great deal remains to be done before Innovation Norway reaches its goals for innovation and internationalisation,’ says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.
Published 12/1/2008 3:28 PM

Document No 3:4 (2008–2009) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into the effectiveness of Innovation Norway as a promoter of industrial development was submitted to the Storting on 25 November.

The investigation shows that only half of the projects that receive financial support from Innovation Norway are registered as innovative. Moreover, the level of innovation in many of these projects is very low since little is required for a project to be registered as innovative. Thus, the contribution to innovation is limited despite the fact that enhancing innovation in business and industry is crucial in order to achieve the goal of promoting industrial development that is profitable from a business and socio-economic viewpoint.

The investigation also shows that, so far, Innovation Norway has not succeeded in fully integrating the international dimension into all aspects of its work. There is little contact between the offices in Norway and abroad, and they know little about one another and the services they can offer. Innovation Norway has not yet fully realised the potential of the different offices’ knowledge of local and international conditions. This affects Innovation Norway’s ability to promote Norwegian businesses in international markets.

The investigation shows that Innovation Norway's services and financial means are not easily accessible to its customers. The services and financial means are complicated to administer and it is difficult for the staff of Innovation Norway and the customers to seek the appropriate services and solutions.

Annually, Innovation Norway receives approximately 40 letters of assignment from five ministries, from county governors and from county authorities. The Ministry of Trade and Industry exercises little coordination in this respect.

‘Further coordination is required in order to ensure that the goals of Innovation Norway are achieved,’ says Mr Kosmo. ‘The Ministry of Trade and Industry is the only body that can take on this role.’

The Ministry of Trade and Industry states that it is a demanding task to make an organisation like Innovation Norway function as intended, and that this will take time.

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