Supporting SRI & Ecodesign in SME's

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Supporting sustainable regional innovation and ecodesign in SMEs

Supporting sustainable regional innovation and ecodesign in SMEs

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  • 1. Supporting sustainable regional innovation and ecodesign in SMEs • context • a practitioners perspective on SMEs • the SMEs perspective • recommendations for future strategies
  • 2. Wales • devolved administration of UK (1998) • historically, manufacturing and mineral based industries • currently, service sector and lower volume, value added production • statutory obligation to promote sustainable development “We aim to encourage ecodesign and sustainable production and consumption in Wales” Environment Strategy for Wales 2026, Welsh Assembly Government, 2006
  • 3. Ecodesign Centre Wales established in September 2006 small team of 5 (designers and engineers) our role build capacity and capabilities so that effective ecodesign can happen in Wales
  • 4. supporting ecodesign and sustainable innovation in SMEs
  • 5. a tale of two cities?
  • 6. or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
  • 7. positive negative • simple capital structure • lack of managerial and operational resources (including time, cost, skills) • entrepreneurial orientation / spirit • failure of SME managers to act • flexible decision making structures strategically – insular and autonomous • organisational flexibility • lack of awareness, training, and • close trust-based relationships with motivation suppliers or subcontractors • low absorptive capacity • needs based ad-hoc training • uncertainty and poor appropriability • “public-good” nature of investment in ecodesign
  • 8. incremental v.s. radical v.s. disruptive v.s. sustainable
  • 9. what about SMEs in Wales?
  • 10. phase 1 • Cardiff Business School (LEED Unit) • “Design for growth survey” “potential growth index” • identified and ranked 250 businesses (sample of 2056) • managerial prioritisation of environmental issues • innovative capacity • skills development and training • networking phase 2 • select over 30 SMEs • combine key companies from stage one with design led SMEs • 3 concurrent workshops to explore • existing perceptions on ecodesign and sustainable business practice • required internal/external competencies
  • 11. general observations SMEs • need inspiration to engage with ecodesign – non-standard drivers • expect local knowledge from BSOs or intermediaries • benefit from long-term relationships (not dependency) – negotiating risks, building capacity • benefit from partnerships – industry as service provider • listen to appropriate language • require flexible financial support
  • 12. recommendations (for Wales or similar) • identify of focus areas for intervention – (innovation systems perspective) • create platforms for the open sharing of knowledge and experiences • build capacity in existing/current business support infrastructure • embed ecodesign and sustainability in higher/further, professional training, etc • build capacity in the indigenous design sector • establishing a culture of policy learning
  • 13. thank you questions?