ENHANCING INNOVATION IN SMALL & MEDIUM SIZED ENTERPRISES THROUGH PLACEMENT OF INNOVATION OFFICERS Murk M. V. Peutz ISPIM Bilbao, June 2010Dit project is mede mogelijk gemaakt door een bijdrage uit het EuropeesFonds voor Regionale Ontwikkeling in het kader van OP-Zuid
2Introduction Syntens Project “Innovatie Zuid”Not for Profit Foundation Innovation fuels economic growthSupported by Dutch Ministry ofEconomic Affairs, EU and regional Many SMEs are thought togovernments in the Netherlands lack resources for innovationAims to accelerate and improve Regional economic policiesinnovation in Small and Medium aim to promote clusters andSized Enterprises (SMEs) innovative products and servicesActs as consultant on innovation forSMEs, as liaison for knowledge and Regional project, co-fundedas innovation specialist by regional government and European Union400 employees Project started in Aug. 2008 Public stimulus € 30 million
Several studies stress time and personnel as innovation constraints within SMEs Resource Poverty Insufficient time Lack of personnel 50% 47% 43% %Respondent % 27% Respondentmentioned 22% mentionedthis issue 16% 15% this issue Lack of time Lack of know- Lack of Lack of Finance Admini- Lack of or capacity how (new) resources qualified strative time employees personnel burden Constraint Constraint Source: FME 2009 Source: EIM 2008
4Innovation Officer instrument aims toaddress resource poverty in SMEs Issue Innovation OfficerSMEs have good ideas SME can hire „knowledgefor innovation projects, worker‟ subsidized up tobut lack resources to € 30.000,-implement these ideas Conditions:(people, know-how and 1. SME : EU definitionfunds) 2. Knowledge worker not yet employed in the company 3. Plan and define innovation project 4. Match plan with specific knowledge worker
5Entrepreneurs are positive about value andtiming of Innovation Officer instrumentResults of mid-term evaluation among SMEs Value for money … … especially in times of crisis “… being innovative in 78% these times is harder than ever…” %SMEs “…necessary support in 22% these times” 0% agree neutral disagree Quotes of entrepreneurs n=29 n=8 n=0Source: TU/e UniPartners, n=37 (2007 & 2009)
Typical activities of an Innovation OfficerInterviews with officer and entrepreneur in exemplary case Life Sciences company, 8 employees • Products for application in vitro diagnostics and medical imaging • High R&D intensity • Close to university research Innovation Officer develops new business area for MRI • Initial idea to diversify into products for MRI scans • Business application to be studied • Manufacturing processes to be established • Innovation Officer recruited from large medical supplies company which closed facility in the NetherlandsNote: other cases studied included a company developing and delivering cleaning products/systems for carpets, and acompany producing and distributing amongst others battery chargers, DC-AC inverters, and DC-DC converters, .
7Core findings• Considerable impact across the board, on a multitude of determinants of innovative ability• Placement of an Innovation Officer addresses SME-typical time issues (bottlenecks), enabling SMEs to focus and actually execute innovation projects• Innovation Officers positively impact innovation outcomes, process improvements were observed in all cases, whilst new products and new markets were given as outputs by the respondents• Innovation Officers seem to influence the SME with external contacts, which is underestimated by the entrepreneurs themselves
8Significant impact Innovation Officers onimportant area‟s of innovation in SMEs % respondents „large influence‟ 85% 82% 70% 70% 70% % Convert Gain Organization Improve Generate ideas knowledge and process Skills ideas developmentSource: TU/e UniPartners, n=33 (2009, including data from 2007 instrument)
9 Innovation Officers are externally more active than expected by SMEs Analysis of time spent on activities by innovation officer as estimated by both entrepreneur and officer % time attributed to activities 38% % 24% 21% 13% Estimation Estimation Estimation Estimation entrepreneur Innovation entrepreneur Innovation Officer Officer KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION EXTERNAL CONTACTSSource: TU/e UniPartners
10ConclusionConclusion Further workInnovation officers improve Zooming in on specificinnovation capability and capabilities on which officersoutputs in SMEs have impact, since entrepreneurs indicate „acrossInnovation Officers play an the board‟ improvementsimportant role in theexternal orientation of SMEs Investigation of the role of the officer in crossing bridges to the outside world by filling in „structural holes‟
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