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Annual report '06


In order to be profitable in the future, Norwegian companies must develop new products and services, renew and improve their production processes through process innovations and invest in new markets.

In a situation with a shortage of labour, companies must improve to ensure their own competitiveness in the long term and utilise scarce labour resources as effectively as possible. Industry must be renewed through start-ups and the promotion of entrepreneurship.

By exploiting international opportunities, many Norwegian companies have an excellent springboard for further growth.
A stronger profile of Norway as a destination and host country for investments in research, development and innovation also presents more opportunities for Norwegian companies.

We must invest in the future

Good times can reduce the level of awareness of the importance of investing in innovation. In order to be competitive in the long term in a global and knowledge-based economy, companies must also invest in innovation when the economy is strong.

The board highlights Innovation Norway’s task of getting innovation on the agenda amongst our customers, in the political world and in debate within society. It is also important to document the results of industry’s work relating to innovation. We are helping to improve the ability of companies to innovate so that more companies grow and achieve long-term profitability.

The fact that we are close to our customers, both locally and in the most important markets internationally, gives Innovation Norway unique opportunities to build and mediate knowledge concerning innovation in the globalised knowledge economy. On the basis of our knowledge and our presence, we will offer our customers a coherent package of deliverables and services from “Bodø to Beijing”. This means that we give local ideas global opportunities.

A budget with opportunities

The support budget for 2006 provided Innovation Norway with excellent opportunities to instigate development projects within business in line with our purpose. The board is satisfied with the continuation of this for 2007.

International challenges

Norwegian business is being exposed to ever tougher international competition, but globalisation is also presenting more opportunities in the form of better access to markets and knowledge. Companies must build competitive advantages with the aid of increased innovation and expertise, based on an in-depth understanding of global value chains.

Innovation Norway’s strategy for internationalisation represents an excellent tool to enable companies to meet these challenges. The external resources that a company needs to develop itself could be anywhere in the world. The board wishes to highlight the important role that Innovation Norway has in linking companies with these resources. The board therefore strives to ensure that at all times Innovation Norway has a network of offices which is present in the most interesting markets, both in Norway and abroad. These offices must deliver knowledge, networks and financing and contribute to promotion and reputation-building in order to increase the international competitiveness of Norwegian business.

The northern areas

The northern areas represent an important strategic initiative area for Norwegian authorities. As a pivotal support player, Innovation Norway will play an important role in the realisation of the visions for development in the north.
Petroleum activity in the Barent’s Sea has led to new optimism and new opportunities both in our northern regions and elsewhere in the country.

In order to exploit the opportunities in the north, investment is required in Norwegian and north Norwegian human resources development and local and regional business development.  Initiatives are also required with regard to industries where the region is particularly competitive, such as the marine and maritime sector, environmental technology, energy and the experience industries. We will also help to further develop these industries and facilitate new activity in Northern Norway and will invest considerable resources in industrial development and innovation in the area over the coming years.

The board believes that it is right to review Innovation Norway’s programme and services, so that we can also stimulate innovation in industry in Northern Norway to the greatest possible extent. Coordination between the many tools and support players is vital to obtain the maximum effect from the initiative in the north.

The administrative reform

Storting Report no. 12, 2006-2007: Regional advantages – regional future describes among other things the role of the regional administration level as regards industrial development, the organisation of the public support system and the delegation of work between the new regions and other players at a regional and national level.

In the report, the government proposes that Innovation Norway be maintained as a single organisation, but that the new regions should own the future Innovation Norway, with the State as the largest owner. Under the Government’s proposal, the regions will also appoint two of the members to each of Innovation Norway’s regional boards.

In the consultations relating to the report, the board was positive towards a reform which will involve the transfer of tasks and authorities from the State to new, enlarged regions subject to publicly elected control. At the same time, the board has stressed the necessity of maintaining Innovation Norway as a single, coherent organisation to secure national value creation and innovation development in a global world.

With the organisation model that is proposed in the report, Innovation Norway will in the opinion of the board be able to continue operating as an integrated organisation. The organisation will continue to effectively and competently serve customers based on a regional, national and international presence and with a complete set of services.

Once the Norwegian Parliament has decided on the delegation of tasks between the new regions and the State, a new Storting Report will be submitted in 2008 concerning the future regional subdivision. In the opinion of the board, Innovation Norway will be able to adapt the organisation to the chosen regional subdivision both simply and effectively.

The board wishes Innovation Norway to contribute actively and constructively in the further work relating to this.