Jan Youtie and Philip Shapira
Philip Shapira and Jan Youtie
This chapter considers the available evidence on the impact of technology and innovation advisory services. Technology and innovation advisory services are services provided directly by specialists particularly to small and medium-sized enterprises to support and stimulate improvements in business operations including productivity, efficiency, production, quality, waste reduction, information technology and logistics. The review focuses on developed economies where well-established technology and innovation advisory services are found. We provide an overview of technology and innovation advisory services, including the major types of approaches and services adopted and the rationale for public support. This is followed by a discussion of leading examples of technology advisory and innovation services in the UK and in other developed economies. The chapter then collates and examines the available literature, including formal evaluation studies, selected academic papers and accessible grey literature, to assess the evidence on impact. The reviewed studies generally find that technology and innovation advisory services provide positive benefits for participating firms. The types of benefits achieved include reductions in costs, improved quality, reduced waste and improved environmental performance, higher productivity, and new product development and innovation. Levels of investment involved (by both the public sector and private participating firms) are typically not high. Similarly, the net benefits achieved are often relatively modest for individual projects, although such incremental improvements add up and can make the difference to SME survival or decline. Lessons and insights for policymakers are highlighted.