Développement régional, urbain et rural

Barriers to Innovation Diffusion in OECD regions: A Self-assessment Toolkit


The OECD is developing a self-assessment toolkit for regions that will allow regional or national policy makers to implement an up-to-date assessment of bottlenecks for innovation diffusion in different regions. The toolkit provides a regional innovation profile (relative to other OECD and EU-27 regions), quantifies the strength of different innovation diffusion channels in the region and allows policy makers to engage local stakeholders to gather their views on actions for improvement.



What is innovation diffusion? 

Innovation diffusion is the process through which different organisations gather ideas from outside and use them to introduce an innovation (e.g. a new process of production, a new product itself or a new way of providing a service). Innovation diffusion can also be the adoption of existing technologies (e.g. purchasing machinery developed elsewhere or signing a license agreement for an existing patent).

While innovation diffusion is not a strictly regional phenomenon, it is intrinsically linked to the networks and interactions that people and businesses have, many of which occur within their local area and within the “regional innovation system”.


Download flyer







This European Commission-funded project aims to provide all OECD regions with an online toolkit that allows them to:

  • Easily review how well their region supports the key channels through which new ideas arrive and diffuse;
  • Engage with local stakeholders to map out their regional innovation system and its strengths and weaknesses.

The quantification of innovation diffusion channels includes traditional measures (e.g. co-patenting), as well as channels relevant for a broader notion of innovation (e.g. learning through supply chains or foreign direct investment). Where available, the toolkit includes concrete numbers on the performance of different innovation diffusion channels and guidance on how to obtain numbers where they are not readily available.

The qualitative mapping of the regional innovation system identifies who are the relevant actors, how are they linked and what policies support them. The project provides an online questionnaire, which can be circulated to stakeholders by regional actors and collects and summarises the responses to ensure the confidentiality of individual responses. 






Once launched, the toolkit can be used by policy makers in any interested country or region for a self-assessment of their regional innovation diffusion challenges. The OECD can further provide a proposal for tailored support to countries or regions in implementing the results of the assessments, such as dedicated workshops or peer-review activities.

Examples from the trial phase of the toolkit: 

Czech Republic


Bulgaria, North Central Region


Blekinge, Sweden




Northern and Western Region of Ireland


   computer innovation diffusion


If you are interested to learn more about the project or to get involved, please contact:

Alexander C.


Documents connexes