Regional Innovation Policy for Small-Medium Enterprises

Regional Innovation Policy for Small-Medium Enterprises

Edited by Bjørn T. Asheim, Arne Isaksen, Claire Nauwelaers and Franz Tödtling

This book provides an extensive evaluation of the numerous policy instruments used by regional governments in Europe to promote innovation activity in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The instruments are compared and benchmarked in order to identify ‘good practice’, in an effort to bridge the gap between the theory of regional innovation and real-world policy implementation.

Chapter 4: Innovation Patterns of SMEs

Alexander Kaufmann and Franz Tödtling

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy

Extract

Alexander Kaufmann and Franz Tödtling In Chapter 4 of this volume the regional case studies of the SMEPOL project are analysed with the focus on the innovation activities of SMEs and the problems they are confronted with. From these innovation patterns implications for policies aiming at supporting innovation in the SMEsector are deduced. These results are intended to provide a fundamental guideline on which aspects SME innovation support instruments should focus in order to be effective. This and the evaluation of the investigated instruments in Part III will deliver the empirical base for drawing policy conclusions in the final chapter of this book. This section concentrates on those basic findings concerning SMEs’ innovation activities that are the most important starting-points for support instruments: types of innovations and the level of innovativeness, the role of innovation in the set of strategies of SMEs, the nature of the innovation process, the resources dedicated to innovation, the external relations in this process, and the problems constraining innovation. Using the results of the regional case studies, a distinction will be drawn between findings that are general in nature, and findings that are more region-specific. 4.1 THE INNOVATIVE PERFORMANCE OF SMEs In the SMEPOL project the term ‘innovation’ is used in a very broad sense. It covers any modification or improvement of products or services, any kind of change of a firm’s range of products or services, and upgrading as well as adopting or developing new technologies. We do not deal...

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