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The Reality of Innovation Collaboration in SMEs (UK Foundries & Metal-Forming Firms)

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The Reality of Innovation Collaboration in SMEs (UK Foundries & Metal-Forming Firms)

  1. 1. Temitope.Akinremi@wbs.ac.uk Enterprise Research Centre Warwick Business School University of Warwick The Reality of Innovation Collaboration in SMEs (UK Foundries & Metal-Forming Firms) Temitope Akinremi, Stephen Roper
  2. 2. Context • We consider two UK Industry Sectors ;  Metal Forming Industry  Foundry Industry • SME dominated industries • Imprints across the UK manufacturing sector and global markets • Challenging manufacturing process • Responding to changing demand • Fair share of closures in recent decade
  3. 3. Introduction • Why do firms collaborate?  External collaboration for innovation has several potential benefits, improved product quality, reduced time-to-market, cost and risk sharing, etc.  Beneficial for SMEs-combining resources, sharing risks, quicker time to markets. • The adoption of innovation collaboration in SMEs remain limited (Piperopoulos and McAdam, 2013; Freel and Robson, 2017). • There is a need for innovative practices in manufacturing SMEs • We investigate the perception of firms on innovation collaboration, collaboration practices and innovation trends
  4. 4. Data and Methods • Qualitative research technique; Purposive Sampling (Guest et al. 2006) • Conducted 25 semi-structured interviews across the industry sectors • Codes were developed and emergent themes identified • Information-rich categories were developed to describe the evolving theme • Analysis process was iterative and reflective (Taylor and Gibbs 2010)
  5. 5. Main findings • How innovation is perceived; Definition, Motivation & Practice  Definition of Innovation  Innovation Motivation  Current Practice “… creation of new parts, new machines, expanding into the unknown. We use our initiative and a bit of imagination to try and design something different that somebody else can't design…” (Director in a medium-sized metal forming firm).
  6. 6. Main findings • Industry Challenges • Types of Collaboration • Barriers to innovation Collaboration • Recent Technological changes the technological change would be the 3D printing. That has been a big innovator for us, just looking at those innovative technologies and trying to use those as part of our process” (Director of a medium-sized casting company).
  7. 7. Main findings • Benefits of Technological Changes • Challenges in adopting Technological changes
  8. 8. Conclusions • Innovation and its benefit are grounded concepts in the case-study sectors • Increased technological change and process improvements evident in some firms while others are still constrained by the financial investment • Existence of innovation-focused collaborations between firms and supply chain partners • Inter-firm collaboration is non-existent in the sectors • Effort towards further development of technological capabilities necessary • Support for the development and transfer of new knowledge via supply chain firms and business networks
  9. 9. Thank you
  10. 10. What does the literature say • External collaboration for innovation in SMEs  Benefits (Gassmann et al. (2010), Laursen and Salter (2014), and diminishing returns (Laursen and Salter (2006), Hewitt-Dundas and Roper (2017).  Disparity in innovation collaboration between SMEs (Van de Vrande (2009) and large firms (Chesbrough 2006) • Benefits from innovation collaboration in SMEs  A firm’s ability to engage in collaborative strategies is influenced by its absorptive and desorptive capacities (Braun et al. (2012), Spithoven et al. (2013), Cohen and Levinthal (1990), Grimaldi et al. (2013).  Partner selection and number of partners in collaboration network important in innovation interactions (Chen et al. 2011, Brunswicker and Ehrenmann 2013, Tomlinson 2010)  Availability of potential innovation partners influenced by industry exogenous factors and sectoral structure (Parida et al. 2012, Hewitt-Dundas 2012, Levinthal and March 1993)
  11. 11. What does the literature say • Benefits from innovation collaboration in SMEs  A firm’s ability to engage in collaborative strategies is influenced by its absorptive and desorptive capacities (Braun et al. (2012), Spithoven et al. (2013), Cohen and Levinthal (1990), Grimaldi et al. (2013).  Partner selection and number of partners in collaboration network important in innovation interactions (Chen et al. 2011, Brunswicker and Ehrenmann 2013, Tomlinson 2010)  Availability of potential innovation partners influenced by industry exogenous factors and sectoral structure (Parida et al. 2012, Hewitt-Dundas 2012, Levinthal and March 1993) • External collaboration for innovation in SMEs  Benefits (Gassmann et al. (2010), Laursen and Salter (2014), and diminishing returns (Laursen and Salter (2006), Hewitt-Dundas and Roper (2017).  Disparity in innovation collaboration between SMEs (Van de Vrande (2009) and large firms (Chesbrough 2006)

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