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Design Science Journal
Papers

Innovation processes in SMEs: Exploring the influence of varying degrees of control

Innovation processes in SMEs: Exploring the influence of varying degrees of control

Year: 2017

Section: Design Processes, Design Organisation and Management

Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos

Author: Karlsson, Anna; Öhrwall Rönnbäck, Anna; Lind, Erika

Series: ICED

Institution: Luleĺ University of Technology, Sweden

Section: Design Processes, Design Organisation and Management

Pages: 447-456

Abstract

Previous research in the field of product innovation management has focused on large firms. This is unfortunate because small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have features that clearly distinguish them from their larger counterparts and also play an important role in the global economy. In addition, SMEs often have more varying control of the whole innovation process – from identification of a customer need to delivering customer value – compared to larger companies. This article addresses this research gap by exploring how SMEs with growth ambitions, and varying degree of control, can leverage their innovation process. The article outlines results from a SWOT analysis utilizing data from a multiple case study of eight SMEs. Both ‘product owning’ companies (with either in-house or outsourced manufacturing) as well as manufacturing industry subcontractors were sampled. The results show indications of the influence of varying degree of control of the innovation process – relating to different phases, how knowledge and competence are considered and being reliant on others – and how SMEs and their offerings can be considered as parts of larger systems.

Keywords: Organizational processes, Case study, Organisation of product development, SWOT, Established SMEs

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