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Type: Journal article
Title: Understanding demand for innovation in the food industry
Author: Muscio, A.
Nardone, G.
Dottore, A.
Citation: Measuring Business Excellence, 2010; 14(4):35-48
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 1368-3047
Organisation: Education Centre for Innovation and Commercialisation
Statement of
Alessandro Muscio, Gianluca Nardone and Antonio Dottore
Abstract: Purpose – This paper aims to focus on understanding how demand for innovation is articulated in low-tech industries, dominated by SMEs, where innovation is often based on informal processes and uncodified knowledge, relying on intangible assets. Design/methodology/approach – The authors hypothesize that the problems found in the innovation area are exacerbated in a traditional industry. SMEs might have difficulty understanding what their requirements might be, let alone finding the optimal provider of technologies. The authors therefore expect to find three main forms of demand: real, latent, and potential. The specific case is the food industry in Apulia, Italy. First, focus groups identified general business and technology needs. Then in-depth interviews were conducted with 87 firms, stratified in order to be representative of food firms in Apulia. Findings – The authors detected 285 different needs requiring an innovative solution. In most cases, firms understand the areas to be improved, but do not have a technological solution in mind. Demand for innovation is mostly latent. Research limitations/implications – The study is narrow in geographic and industry scope. This limits generalizability, but the methodology is transferable and the results comparable. The authors studied the demand side, whereas interaction between supply and demand needs to be understood. Future studies into regional public research organizations (PROs) and intermediaries can therefore be useful. Practical implications – The findings can be used to understand how PROs can engage with SMEs and what policymakers can do to facilitate the interaction. Originality/value – This study applies thinking typically used in high-tech sectors to a traditional sector, hence testing and extending the theoretical boundaries.
Keywords: Food industry; Innovation; Italy; Small to medium-sized enterprises
Rights: © 2010 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
RMID: 0020102959
DOI: 10.1108/13683041011093749
Appears in Collections:Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation, and Innovation Centre publications

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