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Background Notes

Almost 60% of enterprises in Ireland engaged in innovation activities between 2018 and 2020

Online ISSN: 2009-8413
CSO statistical publication, , 11am


The Community Innovation Survey (CIS), published as Innovation in Irish Enterprises (IIE), is a survey of innovation activities of enterprises in Ireland and other EU Member States.

The CIS is carried out under the STATISTICS (COMMUNITY INNOVATION SURVEY) ORDER 2021 (S.I. No 85 of 2021) made under the Statistics Act, 1993. The survey collects information about product and process innovation, as well as organisational and marketing innovations and other key variables during the three year period 2018 to 2020 inclusive. Most questions cover new or significantly improved goods or services or the implementation of new or significantly improved products or business processes.

Data was collected in accordance with Section 33 of the Statistics Act, 1993 and with EU law and the survey was carried out under the agreed set of international rules as laid out in the OECD Oslo Manual.

CIS 2018-2020 was conducted using the Oslo Manual 2018, the 4th and latest edition. There were several changes to the questionnaire from previous versions, most notably the inclusion of questions about the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and climate change on innovation activities.

Data is strictly confidential and will be used only for statistical purposes.


The CIS (IIE) survey sampled enterprises with ten or more persons engaged in the Selected NACE categories as included in the table below. The CSO conducted an online survey in 2021. Circa 4,450 survey forms were issued to the sampled enterprises from the CSO’s Business Register. The response rate was 51%.


A description of the methodology is available within the Methods area on the CSO website.

NACE Rev. 2

Sections and Divisions




B (05-09)

Mining and quarrying

C (10-33)


D (35)

Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply

E (36-39)

Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities

Selected Services 


G (46)

Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles

H (49-53)

Transportation and Storage

J (58-63)

Information and communication

K (64-66)

Financial and insurance activities

M (71-73)

Architectural and engineering activities; technical testing and analysis; scientific research and development; advertising and market research


The latest survey form is available on the CSO Website.

Other Europe

Other Europe includes the following European Union (EU) countries, EFTA or EU candidate countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.



The market introduction of a new or a significantly improved good or service with respect to its capabilities, user friendliness, components or sub-systems. The product innovation could either be new to the market or new to the firm.


The implementation of a new or significantly improved production process, distribution method, or support activity for goods and services. The process innovation could either be new to the market or new to the firm.


An innovation activity, which saw the introduction of a new or significantly improved good or service by the firm onto its operating market before other competitors.


An innovation activity which saw the introduction of a new or significantly improved good or service to the firm, and which was already available from competitors in the operating sector.


Spending on activities to support and implement production or process innovations.


The implementation of new or significant changes in firm structure or management methods that are intended to improve your firm’s use of knowledge, the quality of your goods and services or the efficiency of work flows.


The implementation of a new marketing concept or strategy that differs significantly from your enterprise’s existing marketing methods and which has not been used before. It requires significant changes in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing.


Technological innovations comprise new products or processes, whether ongoing or abandoned during the survey period.


Non Technological innovations refer to either organisational or marketing innovations.

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Learn about our data and confidentiality safeguards, and the steps we take to produce statistics that can be trusted by all.