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This dissertation reports the results of case studies on innovation and new product development in eight Scottish food companies and a subsequent triangulation survey of 85 innovative Scottish companies.
The case studies are carried out using qualitative research methods and a realistic inductive research strategy. It is found that the case study companies use an informal and cross-functional innovation process, which is independent of the age of enterprise. It is also discovered that these companies develop new products, often luxuriant variants of their existing products, which are mainly indulgences rather than healthy foods and are sold mostly to large retailers. Use of production methods that are amenable to quick changes in final products and networking with customers, suppliers, other food companies and Scottish Enterprise is also observed. Creative people with high innovative proclivity, who often travel to new locations in search of product ideas, drive the process. The case study companies are high-variety-low-volume businesses, possess good understanding of customer needs and circumstances and are able to achieve a good fit between needs of the market and their own resources. Not facing financial constraints, these companies are able to attract and retain talent, needed to develop new products. Continuously learning from their NPD endeavours, they sell their products without any major advertising or marketing effort.
The subsequent triangulation survey of 85 innovative Scottish companies, from food as well as non-food sectors, confirms most of the above-mentioned findings. Contrary to the case study results however, the survey discovers that innovative Scottish companies face financial constraints while developing new products, do not sell most of their new products to large retailers or undertake travel to new locations in search of product ideas.
The main contributions to knowledge by this research include crystallisation of the new product development practices in Scotland, highlighting difference in product innovation between various sub-groups of enterprises, a new conceptual construct within which all notions and definitions of innovation can be accommodated and identification of a basic flaw in the present innovation policy in Scotland.