Edited by Bjørn T. Asheim, Arne Isaksen, Claire Nauwelaers and Franz Tödtling
4. Innovation patterns of SMEs 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...
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