Difficult market conditions force SMEs to adapt or reinvent their businesses through new technologies or unique value propositions, but they often lack resources and technical capabilities and must thus collaborate with others to compete. Those that succeed in this transition often employ open innovation. A study by Dr Wim Vanhaverbeke, in collaboration with Ine Vermeersch and Stijn De Zutter found that open innovation can create new opportunities for all types of SME – from start-ups in high-tech markets to players in traditional markets – because they can change business models without having the required technologies in-house.
When you think about low-tech industries, you will probably think about many aspects, except for innovation. Innovation is mostly associated with innovative products and technology, but hardly ever with anything beyond R&D activities. This “myth” can now be refuted through the results of a currently published study “Gaining Competitiveness with Innovations beyond Technology and Products: Insights from IMP3rove”.
Many firms discover in their search for unknown co-innovators that in different countries potential innovation partners react differently when they are approached by an Open Innovator. Frank Mattes looks at a recent study that may help shine light on the issue.
In this article Dr Rowan Gilmore shares lessons from the AIC’s Innovation Coaching program which was first introduced to help Queensland (Australia) SMEs in 2009. The program works with SMEs in a number of industry sectors, helping company management to “think outside the box” to grow their business or develop new products and services.
Current public innovation support often fails to activate a significant group of SMEs. As a result, the innovation infrastructure is not utilized to its true value and capacity by a key constituency – small and growing companies. Not-for-profit intermediary Syntens initiated a campaign “FuturizedBusinesses” with Regional Development Agencies and the Chambers of Commerce to tackle this. Here's what we learned.
As a follow-up to my slightly provocative blog post, Why Open Innovation is Not for Small Companies, I have begun looking further into the interesting topic on how small companies can innovate with others.
The use of innovation management increases your operational margins. This was one of the key findings of a European study on Innovation Management performance within SMEs. The growth champions were reaching approximately 12% operational margins, an exceptional performance compared to the 5% operational margin of the average SME. In this article Dr. Dirk Balfanz and Dr. Bernhard Kölmel describe a lean and efficient approach to Innovation Management specifically targeted to the needs of SMEs.