Innovation and New Product Development in smes: An Investigation of the Scottish Food Industry




НазваниеInnovation and New Product Development in smes: An Investigation of the Scottish Food Industry
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9.8Contributions to knowledge



The main contributions to knowledge by this research include crystallisation of the new product development practices in Scotland, highlighting difference in product innovation practices between various sub-groups of enterprises, particularly between high-tech and low-tech 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.


10Recommendations

10.1 For non-innovative food companies



The innovation process in the investigated companies, as identified in the case studies and confirmed by the survey is influenced significantly by the initiative, commitment and skills of certain creative individuals. The obvious and relevant question therefore is this. Can other non-innovative organisations start and continue new product development process in absence of such individuals? This research suggests that the non-innovative small food companies may be able to embark on innovation by taking the following route.


As detailed earlier, in some of the case studies companies, the hired employees who possess high innovative proclivity and who have long experience in the food industry, play crucial roles. These people are also empowered with sufficient flexibility and discretion in decisions concerning innovation. Non-innovative organisations willing to embark on a path to innovation must first recruit such people and delegate requisite independence and discretion to them. In two of the case study companies, the hired individuals who have significant authority in product development drive innovation almost single-handed. It thus seems plausible that if an organisation is able to recruit and empower people with such attributes they should be able to ignite the innovation process.


The successful new products that have come out of the case study companies are often a variant of their existing products. Though the triangulation survey does not corroborate this, barring the single sub-group of companies employing more than 50 people, the segregated data analysis of all other sub-groups of survey companies support this. The innovation aspirants therefore should proactively search for the answer to the following question. Which way the technology at their command and the products in their hands can be marginally moulded to cater to a long unfulfilled or newly emerging need (Vyas, 2009)? While contemplating new products to create, it would be a good idea to search for gaps in the market and try to conceptualise the products, which are feasible within the company’s skills and expertise without a major investment in new technology.


After identifying the product idea, the company should go for its validation through intensive consultation involving all internal and external stakeholders to check for production feasibility as well as market potential. Case studies show that making several variants of a product and offering people you know, is the simplest and most effective method to ascertain market potential of a new food product.


In order to improve the product and achieve a good fit between the product and the customer needs, during the implementation stage when the product has been put in the market, a high sensitivity and responsiveness to customer reactions would be called for.

10.2For the Scottish Government




As explained in Chapter 5, there is a need on the part of Scottish Government to rethink its innovation strategy. Government’s concern and determination to make Scotland a more innovative region are well known. The present strategy to achieve this, however, is flawed. The fault lies in the presumption that innovation is science-lad, occurs in the high-tech sectors and is caused by investments in R&D. It is true that in some businesses, innovation does occur in this manner but such businesses are in a minority in the present Scottish economy. None of the case study companies and barring the obvious exceptions of high-tech and larger Scottish companies, none of the sub-groups of innovative survey companies invest in formal R&D. If Scottish Government corrects its vision of innovation in Scotland and focuses its resources on understanding and supporting innovation in its low-tech traditional industries, it can make Scotland a more innovative and competitive region than what it is today.
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