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Annual report '06


Of 723 full-time employees at Innovation Norway, 87 are temporary appointments or temporary posts. Innovation Norway has offices in 30 countries. The employees at our overseas offices are either Norwegian employees stationed abroad or employees from the country in which the office is situated. At the end of 2006, Innovation Norway had 163 local employees.

Approximately 75% of our employees who are covered by the agreement are members of a union affiliated to the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions (LO), the Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS) and the Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations (SAN). Innovation Norway is affiliated to the employers’ association NAVO. The basic agreement between NAVO and the main organisations contains provisions governing the relationship between the parties and the rights and duties of union representatives. The organisation’s management is responsible for discussing the following matters with the union representatives:

  • matters that affect the organisation’s operational and financial status and performance
  • matters directly connected with the workplace and its daily operations
  • general salaries and working conditions in connection with the organisation

Innovation Norway has also concluded an agreement with union representatives that describes the cooperation between the organisation and the union representatives.
In November 2005, Innovation Norway signed the agreement on a More Inclusive Workplace. This means that we have a close partner in the National Insurance Administration’s workplace support centre, and together we will set appropriate goals for a more inclusive workplace.

Innovation Norway’s working environment committee consists of one representative from each of the organisations, representatives of management and representatives of the Human Resources and Operations/Management departments, which coordinate HSE work together.  The committee’s task is to represent the entire organisation, but faces a number of challenges with regard to protecting the interests of all the offices abroad. Most district offices have their own safety delegate, and some offices have their own working environment committee.  The central committee is now preparing an HSE plan for the entire organisation.
Total absence due to illness at Innovation Norway for 2006 was 4.10 percent.  No analysis has been undertaken as to whether or not the absences due to illness are work-related.  However, as far as we can determine the majority of the absences are not work-related ailments.  No occupational accidents were reported during 2006.
In 2006, we spent 33,260 hours on human resource development. This is 46 hours per employee on average.

Gender equality at Innovation Norway

An evaluation has been carried out of Innovation Norway’s gender equality plan. This evaluation showed that the proportion of women who were employed in 2006 corresponds to the proportion of female applicants. The study also showed that the guidelines concerning the prioritisation of equal pay have been followed. Women have been assigned a relatively high proportion of the pay increase budget, although there is some way to go for most job groups before equal pay has been achieved.

Even after correcting for the background of employees in terms of education and experience, there are still more women at a lower position level than men within the organisation in relative terms.  There are also far fewer women than men in managerial positions. In administrative managerial positions, approximately 70 per cent are men, while in higher technical positions approximately 65 per cent are men. Women are also underrepresented on internal boards, committees, teams, project groups, etc.

In the future, the organisation will continue to focus on equal pay and career and managerial development for women.

Innovation Norway is committed to promoting the position of women in the business sector. That is why we have several programmes for women as entrepreneurs, women in management and women on boards of trustees. One of these, the “beacon programme”, places special emphasis on manager development, business development and internationalisation. Network credit is helping to strengthen the entrepreneur process and create more new and profitable businesses. In 2006, we introduced a new programme, the GRO programme, where the aim is to get more businesses which are owned and/or managed by women to grow and think bigger. We also have training initiatives for female managers and board candidates. In all, over 2,400 women have participated in these programmes.

Management and governing bodies

Administratively, the company reports to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The role of ownership is exercised through the enterprise general meeting, which largely corresponds to the general meeting of a limited company.  Innovation Norway is a hybrid state-owned company established by the Act of 19 December 2003 with effect from 1 January 2004.

At the end of 2006, the company’s management is as follows:

CEO: Gunn Ovesen
Director Staff and Support: Finn Kristian Aamodt
Director Strategic Projects: Randi Hestnes
Director Division Norway: Siri Bjerke
Director Markets Abroad: Svein Berg
Director Services and Products: Roar Tobro

The Board of Directors of Innovation Norway for the period 2004 – 2006 is comprised as follows:

Chairman: Kjell A. Storeide
Vice Chairman: Kirsten Indgjerd Værdal
Elin Tveit Sveen
Siri Bye G. Johansen
Arild Øien
Roar Flåthen
Eli Blakstad
Leif Frode Onarheim
Kirsti Saxi

Employee representatives
Egil Hagen
Randi Abrahamsen

Innovation Norway’s work relating to ethics and efforts to combat corruption

In 2004, Innovation Norway carried out a major ethics project. Ethical guidelines and an ethics package were prepared for use throughout the organisation.  All employees in Norway sat through a review of ethical issues and worked on dilemmas. In 2006, it was the turn of our overseas offices, which received training concerning the same dilemmas as the rest of the organisation had been given training on during the previous year. In a culture and climate survey among the employees in autumn 2006, 88 percent reported being familiar with Innovation Norway’s ethical guidelines. Only 0.3 percent reported that they are not familiar with these guidelines.

Towards customers as well as our own employees, ethical questions, issues relating to corruption and local conditions are important working areas. We are actively working to prepare Norwegian companies for the realities they may encounter in other countries. For instance, our ethical guidelines state that we shall not contribute to transactions or projects that constitute an unacceptable risk of aiding and abetting unethical acts, violations of human rights, corruption or environmental destruction.  They also state that Innovation Norway shall urge customers and other partners to practise the same ethical attitudes.

There are many examples of how we perform this prime-mover role. Here are some:

  • The “Norwegian School of Exports” is a nine-month training programme.  On the very first day we take up the issues of culture, corruption and training in dealing with ethical dilemmas. 
  • In collaboration with Vipe, Innovation Norway organised a Russia seminar in September. Norwegian and Russian business culture differ in important regards, such as leadership style, negotiating techniques, relationship-building, approach to equality and inequality and attitude towards bureaucracy. 
  • In April, Innovation Norway held a seminar on “Business culture and the role of religions in the Middle East”. This seminar was also organised in collaboration with VIPE. How do the arguments over the Danish cartoonist’s portrayal of Mohammed in 2005 affect Scandinavian industry? What can Norwegian industry learn from the various strategies and results of the Danes and how can the risks associated with investing in a world “built on Islam” be reduced?
  • The Business Aid Conference, Næringslivets bistandskonferanse, is an annual event which in 2006 was attended by over 200 delegates from business, government and development aid organisations. They met to discuss issues relating to corporate social responsibility. Among the themes in 2006 were: “The role of business in development policy” and “Business development and management methods – Aid and corruption”.

Innovation Norway manages investment funds which, together with Norwegian business, can make commercial investments in Russia, Ukraine, other CIS countries and the countries in the Balkans that are outside the EU. Including investments in the countries that became EU members in 2004, Innovation Norway has made 27 investments in the region. We have seen the issue arise in companies in which we were involved and in the many projects that we have evaluated in the nine years of the funds’ existence. This is one of the areas that will be analysed during the planned evaluation of the funds in 2007.

Privacy and confidentiality

Innovation Norway has clear rules concerning confidentiality. Employees must sign a non-disclosure statement in which they accept that they have a duty of confidentiality regarding the business or private matters of others that they become privy to as part of their jobs. The duty of confidentiality does not only apply externally, but also with regard to co-workers who do not need the information in order to do their jobs. However, the duty of confidentiality must not be an obstacle to the development of knowledge concerning a particular line of business, good collaboration and an active professional environment within the company. The duty of confidentiality shall not prevent employees from informing their superiors of circumstances that are assumed to be in violation of current laws and regulations.